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In  the  autumn  of  1939,  soon  after 
the  Munich  Crisis,  Khan  Abdul  Ghaffar 
Khan  invited  Mahatma  Gandhi  as  a 
specialist  in  the  science  of  non-violence 
to  make  a  tour  of  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars  (literally  “  Servants  of  God  ”,  as 
non-violent  Pathan  followers  of  Abdul 
Ghaffar  Khan  were  called)  and  give 
them  the  benefit  of  his  personal  guid¬ 
ance.  In  the  ensuing  weeks  the  two 
together  traversed  the  whole  of  the 
Frontier  Province  from  end  to  end 
and  side  to  side,  planning  and  guiding 
the  non-violent  organization  of  Khudai 
Khidmatgars,  which  they  hoped  might 
provide  the  reply  to  the  challenge  of 
Munich.  In  the  course  of  the  joint  tour 
Gandhiji  in  a  remarkable  series  of  bril¬ 
liant  discourses  expounded  in  simple, 
elementary  language  the  theory  and 
practice  of  non-violence  to  the  Pathan 
folk.  After  Gandhiji’s  tragic  assassina¬ 
tion  the  Frontier  Gandhi  continued  to 
bear  lone  witness,  in  a  manner  remi¬ 
niscent  of  the  Great  Master,  to  the 
principles  which  he  had  imbibed  from 
him.  The  climax  came  in  his  indefinite 
incarceration  in  a  Pakistan  prison, 
where  he  still  is,  and  the  great  experi¬ 
ment  was  consigned  to  the  limbo  of  the 
world’s  saddest  might-have-beens. 

The  authentic  narrative  is  here  for 
the  first  time  told  in  full  by  one  who 
was  a  close  associate  of  both  Gandhi 
and  Frontier  Gandhi  and  an  eye  witness 
to  the  events  which  he  describes.  The 
kernel  of  the  book,  including  the  intro¬ 
duction,  was  seen  in  manuscript  form 
by  Mahatma  Gandhi,  who  wanted  to 
have  it  published  in  his  lifetime  as  a 
guide  book  for  the  practice  of  non-vio¬ 
lence  and  even  made  some  revisions  to 
that  end. 


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t ; 


'  H 


1 

■ 


Gopal  Chitra  Kuteer 
FRONTIER  GANDHI  AND  GANDHIJI  IN  A  HAPPY  MOOD 
Peshawar,  May,  1938 
p.  52. 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 

GANDHI  AND  FRONTIER  GANDHI  AMONG  N.  W.  F.  PATHANS 


BY 

PYARELAL 


NAVAJIVAN  PUBLISHING  HOUSE 
AHMEDABAD 


First  Edition,  February  1950,  3,000  Copies 

Rupees  Five 


Printed  and  Published  by  Jivanji  Dahyabhai  Desai, 
Navajivan  Press,  Kalupur,  Ahmedabad 


PREFACE 


After  Gandhiji’s  tragic  death  last  year  I  was  asked  by 
some  of  our  revered  leaders  and  all  the  closest  friends 
and  associates  who  constituted  Gandhiji’s  wider  family  to 
take  up  the  writing  of  his  full-dress,  authentic  biography 
as  a  matter  of  sacred  duty.  An  outline  of  the  plan  of  the 
book  was  published  in  Harijan  of  6-3-1949.  But  it  was 
ten  months  before  I  could  disengage  myself  from  the 
work  in  Noakhali  with  which  Gandhiji  had  entrusted  me 
along  with  other  members  of  his  entourage.  Further 
preliminaries  took  more  time,  and  it  was  only  recently 
that  details  were  finally  completed  to  begin  work  under 
the  auspices  of  the  Navajivan  Trust,  the  prospective  pub¬ 
lishers  of  the  biography. 

I  utilized  the  interval  to  prepare  for  publication  a 
series  of  forestudies  to  the  full-dress  biography,  particu¬ 
larly  bearing  on  the  last  phases  of  Gandhiji’s  mission.  The 
present  volume  is  the  first  of  the  series.  The  next  one 
will  deal  with  his  “  Do  or  Die  ”  mission  of  peace  and  re¬ 
conciliation  in  Noakhali.  The  third  is  my  sister  Dr. 
Sushila  Nayyar’s  diary  of  the  twenty-one  months’  deten¬ 
tion  in  Aga  Khan  Palace  with  Gandhiji.  It  will  be 
published  in  the  first  instance  in  Hindustani  by  the  Sasta 
Sahitya  Mandal,  Connaught  Circus,  New  Delhi.  A  Guja¬ 
rati  rendering  will  be  published  about  the  same  time  by 
the  Navajivan  Press,  Ahmedabad. 

In  giving  precedence  to  these  publications  I  have 
been  led  by  the  consideration  that  they  embody  Gandhiji’s 
reply  to  the  atomic  challenge  which  confronts  the 
world  today.  They  unfold  in  minute  detail  the  theory 
and  practice  of  non-violence  of  the  strong,  to  perfect 
which  especially  his  last  days  were  devoted.  The  sub¬ 
stance  of  these  volumes  will  later  be  incorporated  in  a 
condensed  form  in  the  full-dress  biography  of  Gandhiji. 

iii 


IV 


My  thanks  are  especially  due  to  Mr.  Arthur  Moore 
and  Horace  Alexander  for  having  gone  through  the 
manuscript  as  a  labour  of  love,  to  the  photographers  who 
have  allowed  me  to  reproduce  their  photos  to  illustrate 
the  text,  and  to  numerous  other  friends  without  whose 
co-operation  and  help  these  pages  might  not  have  seen  the 
light  of  day. 

PYARELAL 

Harijan  Colony, 

Kingsway,  Delhi, 

1st  January,  1950 


INTRODUCTION 


In  the  autumn  of  1938,  Gandhiji  made  an  extensive 
tour  of  the  North-West  Frontier  Province  in  the  company 
of  Khan  Saheb  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan.  Never  shall  I  forget 
the  ecastatic  exaltation  of  the  soul  which  filled  him 
throughout  that  memorable  tour.  To  witness  it  was  a  rare 
privilege. 

I  covered  the  story  of  that  tour  in  a  series  of  articles 
in  Harijan  at  that  time.  But  it  was  Badshah  Khan’s  de¬ 
sire  that  the  text  of  Gandhiji’s  utterances  during  that  tour 
and  particularly  of  his  discourses  on  non-violence  before 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  *  should  be  made  available  to  the 
public  in  full  and  as  far  as  possible  in  Gandhiji’s  own  lan¬ 
guage.  The  articles  needed  a  thorough  revision  and  at 
places  further  amplification.  But  other  duties  pressed 
their  claim  and  the  inspiration  of  those  halcyon  days  re¬ 
fused  to  be  recaptured  afterwards  away  from  the  scene, 
and  so  the  publication  has  been  delayed  up  till  now. 

During  two  successive  incarcerations  in  the  Nagpur 
Central  Prison  in  pursuance  of  the  No-Participation-In- 
War-Satyagraha  Campaign  of  the  Congress  in  1940,  I  had 
the  privilege  of  coming  into  close  touch  with  a  number 
of  public  workers  and  political  leaders.  As  satyagrahis 
they  were  all  deeply  interested  in  the  theory  and  practice 
of  non-violence.  Challenging  questions  would  now  and 
again  crop  up  and  give  rise  to  debate  and  discussions 
which  sometimes  lasted  for  weeks  on  end.  To  my  agree¬ 
able  surprise,  I  found  that  almost  all  the  questions  that 
were  debated  had  been  anticipated  and  answered  by 


*  Literally  “  Servants  of  God  ”  being  the  name  given  by  Khan 
Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan  —  the  Frontier  Gandhi  as  he  came  to  be  known 
—  to  his  volunteers,  when  he  founded  his  non-violence  movement 
among  the  warlike  Frontier  folk. 


v 


VI 


Gandhiji  in  the  course  of  his  talks’to  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars.  These  talks,  as  Gandhiji  used  to  remark,  constitute 
the  most  systematic  and  comprehensive  exposition  of  the 
theory  and  technique  of  non-violence  that  he  ever  gave  in 
one  place. 

Nor  is  this  surprising.  In  the  Frontier  Province 
Gandhiji  had  to  expound  non-violence  to  a  set  of 
people  who  not  only  had  no  living  tradition  or  background 
•of  non-violence  for  a  long  time  past,  but  whose  entire  his¬ 
tory  for  the  last  two  thousand  years  had  run  counter  to  it. 
Non-violence  was  not  only  not  an  extension  of  what  they 
had  held  and  practised  for  a  long  time  past,  but  it  was 
in  many  ways  its  reverse.  Gandhiji  had  therefore  to  begin 
from  scratch  and  reduce  his  philosophy  to  its  simplest 
terms  so  that  even  a  child  could  understand.  In  the  dis¬ 
courses  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  officers  Gandhiji  has 
described  in  minute  detail  the  nature  and  working  of  non¬ 
violence  with  an  anatomist’s  thoroughgoing  patience  and 
care,  and  delved  deeper  and  deeper  till  you  come  to  the 
pulsating  spring  of  the  Godhead  enshrined  in  the  human 
heart,  from  which  it  gushes  forth. 

Gandhiji’s  tour  of  the  North-West  Frontier  Province 
was  undertaken  under  the  shadow  of  the  Munich  crisis. 
That  gave  to  his  utterances  a  distinct  international 
slant  and  he  did  not  hesitate  to  claim  for  his  message 
a  world-wide  application  to  meet  the  challenge  of  ,  brute 
force  which  the  Munich  crisis  dramatized. 

It  has  been  argued  that  the  weapon  of  non-violence 
can  be  of  avail  only  when  the  power  opposing  it  is  sus¬ 
ceptible  to  moral  appeal,  but  is  of  no  use  against  a  power 
that  has,  by  the  totalitarian  technique  of  suppression  and 
unscrupulous  propaganda,  rendered  itself  impervious  to 
world  opinion  or  any  other  moral  influence.  For  instance, 
it  is  pointed  out  that  if  the  German  Jews  had  resorted  to 
Satyagraha,  the  Nazi  rulers  would  have  thought  nothing 
of  mowing  them  down  by  machine-gun  fire  as  if  they  were 
a  herd  of  diseased  cattle  and  thus  putting  an  end  to  all 
trouble  and  trouble-mongers  once  and  for  all. 


Vll 


These  friends  seem  to  forget  that  non-violence  does 
not  depend  for  its  working  upon  the  sufferance  of  the 
tyrant.  It  is  independent  of  his  will.  It  is  self-sustained. 
For  instance,  it  was  not  lack  of  will  or  confidence  in  his 
capacity  to  annihilate  that  “  dark  contemptible  supersti¬ 
tious  heresy  ”  —  as  Christianity  was  then  known  —  that 
.stayed  Nero’s  hand  when  he  started  burning  alive  Christ¬ 
ian  heretics  to  illuminate  the  nocturnal  garden  sports  of 
Rome  or  throwing  them  to  gladiators  and  hungry  lions 
in  the  Colosseum  to  make  a  Roman  holiday.  Enlightened 
public  opinion  of  his  day  was  wholly  on  his  side.  To  ex¬ 
terminate  Christians  like  a  pest  was  regarded  as  a 
laudable  and  meritorious  act  of  public  service.  They 
were  regarded  as  by  nature  corrupt  and  steeped 
in  sedition,  enemies  of  the  State  and  of  true  religion. 
No  anti-Jewish  diatribe  of  Goebbels  or  Streicher  could 
exceed  in  virulence  or  cold-blooded  hatred  words  put  by 
Anatole  France  into  the  mouth  of  Pontius  Pilate,*  which 
very  correctly  sum  up  the  historical  attitude  of  Roman 
proconsuls  towards  the  early  Christians.  Nor  were  the 
Christians  sufficiently  numerous  or  important  to  employ 
“  embarrassment  tactics  ”  successfully.  And  their  per¬ 
secutors  knew  it.  Had  they  actually  decided  upon  their 


*  “  Since  we  cannot  govern  them,  we  shall  be  driven  to  destroy 
them.  Never  doubt  it.  Always  in  a  state  of  insubordination,  brew¬ 
ing  rebellion  in  their  inflammatory  minds,  they  will  one  day  burst 
forth  upon  us  with  a  fury  beside  which  the  wrath  of  the  Numidians 
and  the  mutterings  of  the  Parthians  are  mere  child’s  play.  They 
are  secretly  nourishing  preposterous  hopes  and  madly  pre-meditating 
our  ruin.  How  can  it  be  otherwise,  when,  on  the  strength  of  an 
oracle,  they  are  living  in  expectation  of  the  coming  of  a  Prince  of 
their  own  blood  whose  kingdom  shall  extend  over  the  whole  of 
the  earth  ?  There  are  no  half  measures  with  such  a  people.  They 
must  be  exterminated.  Jerusalem  must  be  laid  waste  to  the  very 
foundation.  Perchance,  old  as  I  am,  it  may  be  granted  me  to  behold 
the  day  when  her  walls  shall  fall  and  the  flames  shall  envelop  her 
houses,  when  her  inhabitants  shall  pass  under  the  edge  of  the  sword, 
Avhen  salt  shall  be  strewn  on  the  place  where  once  the  temple 
stood.  And  in  that  day,  I  shall  at  length  be  justified.”  —  Anatole 
France  :  Procurator  of  Judaea. 


Vlll 


extermination,  nothing  could  have  prevented  them  from 
it.  And  yet,  they  did  not,  because  they  could  not.  f 

So  baffling,  so  subtle,  so  novel  in  character  and  con¬ 
trary  to  all  that  they  had  all  along  recognized  or  were 
familiar  with  was  this  new  force  that  confronted  them 
that  they  did  not  know  what  to  do.  And  before  they  were 
aware  of  it,  it  had  like  a  hidden  leaven  permeated  and 
transformed  the  entire  mass.  The  triumphant  smile  on 
the  face  of  the  Christian  martyr,  as  he  proceeded  calmly 
to  the  stake  to  be  burnt  alive,  at  first  surprised,  then 
exasperated  and  finally  undermined  and  overwhelmed  the 
complaisance  and  smug  self-confidence  of  the  proud  patri¬ 
cian.  The  javelin-proof  coat-of-mail  of  the  Roman 
cohorts  was  not  proof  against  this  subtle  force.  It  insi¬ 
nuated  itself  secretly  into  the  families  of  the  high  and 
the  mighty  and  gained  a  footing  even  in  the  Imperial 
household. 

Coming  to  our  times,  scientific  testimony  as  to  the 
superiority  of  the  power  of  non-violence  to  physical 
strength  or  the  cunning  of  the  brains  in  nature  and  primi¬ 
tive  society  is  furnished  by  that  great  savant  Prince 
Kropotkin  in  his  Mutual  Aid  as  a  Factor  in  Evolution. 
Even  in  wild  nature,  where  there  is  not  any  curb 
or  check  upon  the  destructive  propensities  of  the  strong, 
Kropotkin  has  shown  that  “  the  fittest  to  survive  are  not 
the  physically  strongest  nor  the  cunningest  but  those  who 
learn  to  combine  so  as  mutually  to  support  each  other.” 

But,  argues  the  sceptic,  whilst  in  Utopia  non-violence 
would  be  all  right  and  whilst  in  an  academic  way  many 
people  would  today  endorse  the  declaration  embodied  in 
the  Atlantic  Charter  that  “  on  spiritual  as  well  as  realistic 
grounds  the  renunciation  of  the  use  of  brute  force  is  in- 


t  “  And  you  yourself  Pontius,  have  seen  perish  beneath  the  cud¬ 
gels  of  your  legionaries  simple-minded  men  who  have  died  for  a 
cause  they  believed  to  be  just  without  revealing  their  names.  Such 
men  do  not  deserve  our  contempt.  I  am  saying  this  because  it  is  desi¬ 
rable  in  all  things  to  preserve  moderation  and  an  even  mind.  But  I  own 
that  I  never  experienced  any  lively  sympathy  for  the  Jews.”  — 
Anatole  France  :  Procurator  of  Judaea. 


IX 


evitable  in  the  long  run  ”,  the  present  trend  of  human 
evolution  as  typified  in  the  rise  of  totalitarian  dictator¬ 
ships  is  against  it.  This  argument  ignores  the  pheno¬ 
menon  of  dialectical  transformations  and  mutations  in 
nature  and  history.  A  close  study  of  natural  and  his¬ 
torical  phenomena  shows  that  when  a  particular  ten¬ 
dency  in  nature  or  society  has  reached  its  peak,  it  is  very 
often  ripe  for  a  mutation,  i.  e.,  transformation  into  its 
opposite  by  a  sudden  leap.  During  the  last  war  the 
culmination  of  the  power  of  armaments  gave  rise  to  the 
technique  of  frightfulness  which  means  you  do  not  need 
to  kill  if  you  can  demonstrate  your  undoubted  capacity 
to  kill.  By  the  use  of  this  technique  it  was  found  possible 
by  totalitarian  powers  to  subdue  and  enslave  whole 
nations  almost  without  firing  a  shot.  It  is  not  without 
significance  that  although  the  destructive  power  of 
armaments  and  the  numbers  involved  in  the  last  World 
War  were  far  greater  than  in  World  War  I,  actual 
casualties  were  less.  Proceeding  on  this  analogy, 
it  should  not  be  difficult  to  visualize  that  as  the 
number  of  people  groaning  under  the  iron  heel  of 
militarism  grows,  the  stage  is  set  for  the  discovery  that 
if  the  oppressed  masses  simply  shed  the  fear  of  death, 
it  might  not  be  necessary  for  them  to  die  to  regain  their 
freedom.  The  deadlier  the  weapons  of  destruction  be¬ 
come,  the  greater  is  the  chance  of  humanity’s  learning  to 
confront  them  with  a  power  of  an  altogether  different 
kind  against  which  they  cannot  prevail.  Armaments  can 
but  destroy.  Yet,  total  destruction  is  not  what  the  tyrant 
seeks,  but  co-operation,  willing  or  forced,  of  the  victim 
and  this  no  power  of  armaments  can  extract  from  a  people 
if  they  have  the  strength  to  say  ‘  No  ’.  The  moment, 
therefore,  the  people  become  aware  of  soul  force  or  the 
power  of  the  spirit,  which  armaments  can  neither  destroy 
nor  subdue,  the  arms  will  be  rendered  useless  and  the 
citadel  of  tyranny  will  fall. 

The  earliest  and  perhaps  the  most  brilliant  recorded 
historical  instance  of  the  triumph  of  this  power  of  the 
spirit  is  to  be  found  in  the  encounter  on  the  plain  of 


X 


Taxila  between  Alexander  and  the  Indian  sage  Dandamis 
who,  according  to  the  Greek  chronicler,  “  though  old  and 
naked,  was  the  only  antagonist  in  whom  he  (Alexander), 
the  conqueror  of  many  nations,  had  met  his  match.”  The 
reader  would  do  well  to  ponder  over  the  inner  meaning 
of  that  episode,  symbolizing  as  it  does  the  reply  of  the 
East  to  the  challenge  of  the  armed  might  that  was  hurled 
at  its  head  300  years  before  the  Christian  Era  : 

“  The  East  bowed  low  before  the  blast 
In  patient  deep  disdain ; 

She  let  the  legions  thunder  past 
And  plunged  in  thought  again.” 

Today  the  same  challenge  is  being  repeated' in  an 
even  more  accentuated  form  and  once  more  people’s 
thoughts  are  beginning  to  revert  to  that  weapon  and 
source  of  inexhaustible  power  which  is  India’s  peculiar 
heritage  from  the  past  and  promises  to  be  her  special 
contribution  to  the  world’s  future  progress.  Humanity  is 
in  the  grip  of  the  atomic  nightmare.  What  is  the  nature 
of  this  power  which  Gandhi ji  had  set  out  to  discover  and 
present  to  the  world  ?  How  can  it  be  developed  in  the 
individual  and  in  the  mass  ?  What  is  the  type  of  organiza¬ 
tion  needed  for  it  ?  How  does  it  differ  from  the  other  type 
of  organization  based  on  violence  ?  How  is  a  non-violent 
attitude  to  be  related  to  the  world  around  us  which  not 
only  does  not  swear  by  unadulterated  ahimsa  but  actually 
believes  and  practises  largely  its  opposite  ?  These  and 
other  equally  vital  questions  confronting  a  votary  of 
ahimsa  will  be  found  posed  and  answered  in  these  pages 
in  Gandhiji’s  own  words 

But  whilst  ahimsa  on  an  individual  scale  is  independ¬ 
ent  of  one’s  environment  and  can  be  practised  anywhere 
and  everywhere,  a  non-violent  order  calls  for  a  particular 
type  of  socio-economic  milieu.  What  will  the  mind  and 
face  of  a  society  based  on  non-violence  be  like  ?  A 
few  glimpses  of  this  world  order  in  miniature  based  on 
■ahimsa  will  be  found  in  the  two  articles  on  Taxila.  It  is 
an  enchanting  world  —  that  once  existed  in  actuality  — 
a  world  of  Arcadian  simplicity,  individual  freedom  and 


XI 


natural  living,  honest,  healthy  industry  and  bread  labour, 
a  world  in  which  there  were  the  fewest  laws  but  a  highly 
developed  social  system,  a  world  in  which  war  was 
abolished  and  toleration  in  its  broadest  sense  reigned 
supreme  in  the  political  no  less  than  in  the  religious 
sphere.  And  all  this  efflorescence  sprang  forth  from  the 
seed  of  non-violence.  How  Gandhiji  and  Badshah  Khan 
endeavoured  again  to  plant  it  in  the  hearts  of  the  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  of  the  North-West  Frontier  Province  will 
be  found  described  in  the  following  pages.  Let  the 
reader  ponder  over  the  inner  meaning  and  significance  of 
this  experiment  and  decide  for  himself  whether  it  is  not 
worth  living  for  and  dying  for. 

PYARELAL 

Harijan  Colony, 

Kingsway,  Delhi, 

"1st  January,  1950 


A  Note  on  the  Cover  Design 

The  caver  design  symbolically  represents  the  modern  miracle 
of  the  near  conversion  of  the  ivarlike  Pathans  of  the  North-West 
Frontier  Province  into  soldiers  of  the  spirit  under  the  influence 
of  the  two  Gandhis.  Under  the  shadow  of  the  sinister  looking 
Khyber  Pass,  “the  boulevard  of  sudden  death”,  a  monster 
gathering  of  the  Pathans  listens  to  the  message  of  non-violence 
and  peace  from  Gandhiji’s  lips.  It  is  tire  same  message  as  is 
enshrined  in  the  Ashokan  monuments  in  the  NWFP  and  the  ruins 
of  Taxila  ( seen  beloiv),  where  it  was  vractised  by  the  ancestors 
of  the  modern  Pathans  two  thousand  years  ago.  The  fire  of 
passion  in  Gandhiji’s  soul  is  reflected  in  his  face  and  the  gestur 
of  his  outstretched  hand.  Behind  Gandhiji  looms  the  gigantic 
figure  of  Frontier  Gandhi,  his  face  radiant  with  joy  to  see  his 
children  being  weaned  from  the  curse  of  violence  which  threatened 
them  with  race  suicide,  and  his  dream  of  their  setting  an  example 
to  the  world  of  the  non-violence  of  the  brave  nearing  fulfilment. 
The  heap  of  broken  rifles  and  swords  are  the  arms  that  the 
Pathans  have  discarded,  having  discovered  a  far  more  powerful 
weapon  in  Soul  Force. 


Xll 


CONTENTS 


Chapter  Page 

PREFACE  iii 

INTRODUCTION  v 

A  NOTE  ON  THE  COVER  DESIGN  xii 

I  THE  LAND  OF  CONTRASTS  3 

II  THE  TRAMP  OF  CENTURIES  11 

III  FROM  ROADS  TO  RAIDS  20 

IV  A  NEW  PORTENT  28 

V  THE  SHADOW  OF  MUNICH  47 

VI  IN  FRONTIER  GANDHI’S  VILLAGE  HOME  52 

VII  THE  ROAD  TO  NOWSHERA  63 

VIII  THE  TWO  GANDHIS  CONFER  71 

IX  IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN  79 

X  “THE  WILD  VALLEY”  OF  BANNU  92 

XI  SOLDIERS  OF  VIOLENCE  VERSUS  SOLDIERS 

OF  THE  SPIRIT  102 

XII  ACROSS  THE  SALT  RANGE  111 

XIII  KHUDAI  KHIDMATGARS  AND  THEIR  CHIEF  122 

XIV  MORE  SERMONS  ON  NON-VIOLENCE  128 

XV  THE  SHADOW  OF  PARTING  136 

XVI  PESHAWAR  KHADI  EXHIBITION  141 

XVII  TAXILA  — I  THE  PAST  SPEAKS  147 

XVIII  TAXILA  — II  WHEN  THE  WORLD  CONQUEROR 

MET  HIS  MATCH  155 

XIX  EPILOGUE  1 61 

I  THE  GATHERING  CLOUDS  161 

II  A  NEW  ORDEAL  166 

III  THE  LONE  WITNESS  175 

APPENDIX:  QUINTESSENCE  OF  SATYAGRAHA  195 

I  PREFATORY  197 

Rights  and  Duties 

Ahimsa  —  The  Supreme  Duty 

II  AHIMSA  — ITS  NATURE  198 

Ahimsa  (Non-violence)  —  A  Positive 

Virtue 

Power  of  Non-violence 
Non-violence  in  Individual  and  Col¬ 
lective  Life 

Non-violence  —  The  Law  of  the 
Human  Race 

xiii 


/ 


XIV 


Non-violence  and  Politics  —  Basic 
Principle 

Non-violence  —  Virtue  of  the  Strong 
III  SOUL  FORCE  IN  ACTION  201 

Satyagraha  or  Soul  Force  —  The  Law 
of  Truth 

Satyagraha  as  Direct  Action  —  How 
It  Works 

Ten  Commandments  of  Satyagraha 

Weapon  of  Non-co-operation 

Civil  Disobedience  —  A  Constitu¬ 
tional  Weapon 

Civil  Disobedience  —  Inherent  Right 
of  a  Citizen 

Requisites  of  Civil  Disobedience  — 
Discipline,  Non-violence,  Truth, 
Justice  and  Purity 

REFERENCES  207 

INDEX 


* 


% 


200 


t 


LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIONS 


Facing 

Page 


1.  FRONTIER  GANDHI  AND  GANDHIJI  IN  A 

HAPPY  MOOD  Frontispiece 

2.  “BADSHAH  KHAN,  MY  HOST”  1 

3.  GANDHIJI  WITH  THE  KHAN  BROTHERS  16 

4.  KHYBER  PASS  21 

5.  THE  ARTIFICIAL  FRONTIER  OF  INDIA  28 

6.  “  Looking  the  embodiment  of  the  traditional 

painting  of  Christ  ”  33 

7.  FRONTIER  DEFENCE  —  OLD  STYLE: 

TOCHI  SCOUTS  48 

8.  FRONTIER  DEFENCE  —  NEW  STYLE: 

BEFRIENDING  THE  TRIBESMEN  53 

9.  ADDRESSING  KHUDAI  KHIDMATGAR 

OFFICERS  60 

10.  THE  ROAD  TO  NOWSHERA  65 

11.  GANDHIJI  AND  BADSHAH  KHAN  AT  PRAYER  80 

12.  A  POSER  AT  A  PATHAN  GATHERING  85 

13.  THE  ANSWER  92 

14.  AT  AHMADI  BANDA  IN  THE  MONTH  OF 

RAMZAN  97 

15.  “  You  ought  to  feel  the  stronger  for  having  put 

away  your  arms  ”  112 

16.  WITH  THE  NAWAB  OF  DERA  117 

17.  ON  HEALING  MISSION  IN  RIOT-TORN 

BIHAR  (1947)  124 

18.  TAXILA  —  DISTANT  VIEW  129 

19.  TAXILA  —  VISITING  BUDDHIST  MONASTERY 

OF  JAULIAN  144 

20.  AT  BHANGI  NIWAS,  NEW  DELHI,  DURING 

BRITISH  CABINET  MISSION’S  VISIT 

(1945-46)  _  161 

21.  THEIR  LAST  PUBLIC  APPEARANCE  TOGETHER 

(AT  THE  ASIAN  CONFERENCE,  1947)  176 


MAPS 

1.  MAP  OF  N.  W.  F.P.,  SHOWING  GANDHIJI’S 

TOUR 

2.  N.W.  F.  PROVINCE:  MILITARY  AND 

STRATEGIC  ASPECT 


XV 


AFGHANI  ST  AN 


&AZIRS  !/* 


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m  IBfcNNU 

T MIRAN  SHAH  1 


L, 

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j: 

\  t*|  f/V  * 

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te.  % 
%  % 


tahk- 

0  £  R  A/1s!*  1  s  M  A  'i  ' 

i;  \ 

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OERA  ISMAI 


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(ST  RAIL) 


-LEGEND- 

TOUR  ROUTES  gSES 

ROAOS _ _ _ _ 

RAILROADS . ,,,-■  ■,,  r  q  t 

rivers 

M  OUH TAI  N  3 . .  \^’"XiU2> 

PASSES. . .  S 

TRIBAL  AREA...  . <oxd> 

TRIBES  .  .  AFRI0I6S 

military  base .  A 

SETTLED  DISTRICTS  (  ^  S 


MAP  OF 

N.W.  F.  R 

SHOWING  GANDHUI’S  TOUR 


Mites  o 
t 


60  MIUS 


t 


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-L  EGEN  D  - 

ROADS  . 

CONSTRUCTED  1936-37.— _ 

RAIL  ROADS  . . . . 

RIVERS  . 

PAS  S  E  S  .  W 

KHYBER . KH 

MAIAKAND .  MA 

KOHAT... .  KO 

TOCHI  VALLEY .  TO 

COMAL . GO 

BOLAN... .  BO 

MILITARY  BASE .  A 

TRIBAL  AREA .  I  I  I  I 

SETTLED  DISTRICTS... 

TRIBES.. . lAFRIDISl 


' 


•  BADSHAH  KHAN,  MY  HOST 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 

Of  Gandhi  and  Frontier  Gandhi  among  the  N.  W.  F.  Pathans 


♦ 


CHAPTER  I 


THE  LAND  OF  CONTRASTS 

The  North-West  Frontier  Province  has  been  describ¬ 
ed  as  the  land  of  contrasts  —  “  of  light  and  shade,  of  gaiety 
and  tragedy,  of  romance  and  reality,  of  kindness  and 
hatred,  of  consistencies  and  contradictions.”  Its  climate 
varies  from  the  blazing  heat  of  the  sun-baked  Derajat  to 
the  bracing  cold  of  the  salubrious  Hazara,  with  its  vista 
of  pine  woods  and  snow-capped  hills.  The  natural  scenery 
too  presents  the  same  variations.  In  the  picturesque 
mountainous  north,  dense  forests  and  terraced  cultivation 
alternate  with  waving,  dark  green  fields  of  sugarcane  and 
corn  and  charming  orchards  teeming  with  luscious  fruit 
of  the  finest  variety  — ■  peach  and  plum,  apple  and  apricot, 
pear  and  grape,  orange  and  pomegranate.  Across  the  Salt 
Range  and  to  the  south  stretch  a  clay  desert  and  the 
treeless  plain  of  Lakki  and  Marwat  flanked  by  the  un¬ 
inviting,  howling  wilderness  of  the  storm-swept  Waziri- 
stan  hills.  There  is  in  the  province  a  profusion  of  natural 
wealth  side  by  side  with  the  poverty  of  the  people. 

The  boundaries  of  the  North-West  Frontier  country 
have  varied  from  time  to  time.  During  the  early  Aryan 
period  they  appear  to  have  extended  from  the  valley  of  the 
Indus  to  some  far  away  tracts  in  Central  Asia  and  included 
the  major  part  of  Afghanistan,  the  present  North-West 
Frontier  Province  and  also  the  southern  valley  of  the 
Indus  in  Sindh  and  perhaps  Baluchistan.  From  about 
the  6th  century  B.  C.  onward,  that  part  of  the  country 
which  is  known  as  the  North-West  Frontier  Province 
formed  part  of  the  Iranian,  the  Greek,  the  Kushan,  the 
Gupta,  the  Turki,  the  Ghorian,  the  Moghal  and  the  Dur¬ 
rani  Empires  down  to  1819.  In  1849,  after  about  20  years 
of  Sikh  rule,  the  area  now  identifiable  as  the  Settled  Dis¬ 
tricts  was  taken  over  by  the  British. 

3 


4 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


The  boundary  line  fixed  under  the  Treaty  of  Ganda- 
mak  with  Afghanistan  (1880  A.  D.)  added  the  eastern  half 
of  the  old  sub-province  of  Kandahar  to  the  British  Indian 
Empire.  The  modified  Frontier  line  known  as  the  Durand 
Line,  was  fixed  in  1894  along  the  crests  of  the  Sulaiman 
Range  of  mountains  and  brought  the  tribes  living  in  the 
Khyber  and  Mohmand  Tirah,  Kurram  and  Waziristan 
within  the  British  sphere  of  influence. 

Thus,  by  a  curious  anomaly,  the  North-West  Frontier 
Province  came  to  have  two  boundaries,  the  Durand  Line 
which  separated  British  India  from  Afghanistan  and  the 
Administrative  Boundary,  demarcating  the  zone  actually 
held  by  the  British.  The  tract  between  these  two,  known 
as  the  “  Tribal  Belt  ”,  constituted  a  “No-man’s  Land 
It  was  “  part  of  India  on  the  map  but  not  British  India 
in  fact  ”.  Its  residents  did  not  owe  any  direct  allegiance 
to  the  British  Crown  or  allow  their  lands  to  be  annexed. 
The  King’s  writ  did  not  run  there.  'But  the  British  re¬ 
garded  it  as  their  “  Protectorate  ”  and  claimed  the  right 
to  bomb  its  inhabitants  from  the  air  for  police  purposes.* 

As  at  present  constituted,  the  North-West  Frontier 
Province  is  bounded  on  the  north  by  the  mountains  of 
the  Hindukush,  on  the  south  by  Baluchistan  and  the 
Dera  Ghazi  Khan  District  of  the  Punjab,  on  the  east  by 
Kashmir  and  the  Punjab  and  on  the  west  by  Afghanistan. 
In  size  it  is  bigger  than  Czechoslovakia  by  three  thousand 
square  miles,  its  total  area  being  38,000  square  miles.  Its 
territories  fall  into  three  geographical  groups,  viz.,  (i)  the 
cis-Indus  District  of  Hazara,  (ii)  the  comparatively  nar¬ 
row  strip  between  the  Indus  and  the  Hills  constituting  the 
settled  trans-Indus  Districts  of  Peshawar,  Kohat,  Bannu, 
Mardan  and  Dera  Ismail  Khan  and  (iii)  the  rugged  mount¬ 
ainous  region  between  these  Districts  and  the  borders  of 
Afghanistan.  Of  this  territory  a  little  over  one-third  or 
13,193  square  miles  is  covered  by  the  six  Settled  Districts. 
The  remaining  two-thirds  or  approximately  25,000  square 
miles  are  held  by  tribes  of  either  the  Tribal  Belt  or  of  the 


*  Further  discussed  in  chapter  IV. 


THE  LAND  OF  CONTRASTS 


5 


Independent  Territory,  who,  for  well  nigh  a  century, 
resisted  subjugation  by  the  British.  For  administrative 
purposes,  the  latter  area  (before  the  partition)  was  divided 
into  five  Political  Agencies,  viz.,  Malakand,  Kurram, 
Khyber,  North  Waziristan  and  South  Waziristan. 

Much  of  the  province  is  still  “  virgin  soil  It  is  rich  in 
untapped  mineral  resources,  the  principal  among  these 
being  rock-salt,  oil,  cement,  marble,  sulphur,  coal  and  tin. 
Some  gold  and  iron  too  have  been  found.  It  has  plenty  of 
labour  and  an  immense  reservoir  of  water  power.  The  prin¬ 
cipal  crops  are  maize  and  barley  in  the  cold  weather  and 
wheat,  barley  and  gram  in  the  spring.  Rice  and  sugarcane 
are  largely  grown  on  the  irrigated  lands  of  Hazara,  Pesha¬ 
war  and  Bannu  Districts,  while  the  well  and  canal  irriga¬ 
ted  tracts  of  the  Peshawar  District  produce  fine  crops  of 
cotton  and  tobacco.  In  the  trans-border  agencies,  the  val¬ 
leys  of  the  Swat,  the  Kurram  and  the  Tochi  rivers  yield 
abundant  rice  crops. 

The  following  is  an  account  of  its  natural  features 
as  recorded  in  the  Administrative  Report  for  1922-23  : 

The  District  of  Hazara  forms  “  a  wedge  extending 
north-eastwards  far  into  the  outer  Himalayan  Range  and 
tapering  to  a  narrow  point  at  the  head  of  the  Kagan 
valley.”  It  comprises  both  the  hill  tracts  in  the  tahsil  of 
Mansehra  and  Abbottabad  and  the  well-watered  plain  of 
Haripur  tahsil.  This  area  corresponds  to  the  territory  of 
Takshashila  or  Taxila  —  the  ancient  flourishing  cis-Indus 
Kingdom,  which  fell  to  the  prowess  of  Alexander’s  arms. 
The  mountain  chains  which  form  the  Kagan  defile  “  sweep 
southward  into  the  border  portion  of  the  district,  throwing 
off  well-wooded  spurs  which  break  up  the  country  into 
numerous  glens  The  District  is  a  fine  health  resort  and 
full  of  spots  of  rare  natural  beauty  which  can  compare 
with  any  in  the  world. 

The  tract  between  the  Indus  and  the  hills  consists  of 
a  series  of  three  plains,  viz.,  Peshawar,  Bannu  and  Dera 
Ismail  Khan,  divided  one  from  the  other  by  the  low  hills 
of  Kohat  and  by  the  off-shoots  of  the  Salt  Range.  The 
vale  of  Peshawar  is  for  the  most  part  highly  irrigated  and 


6 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


well-wooded,  presenting  in  the  spring  and  autumn  “  a 
picture  of  waving  corn  lands  and  smiling  orchards  framed 
by  rugged  hills  Adjoining  Peshawar  and  separated  from 
it  by  the  Jawaki  hills,  lies  the  District  of  Kohat  —  “a 

rough,  hilly  tract  intersected  by  narrow  valleys . ” 

The  southern  spurs  of  the  Kohat  hills  gradually  subside 
into  the  Bannu  plains,  where  irrigated  by  the  Kurram 
river  is  a  tract  “  of  unsurpassed  fertility  ”,  presenting  a 
striking  contrast  with  the  harsh  desolation  of  the  Kohat 

hills . To  the  east  is  the  broad,  level  plain  of 

Marwat  extending  from  Lakki  to  the  base  of  Sheikh  Budin 
hills.  “  A  broken  range  of  sandstone  and  conglomerate  ” 
divides  the  Bannu  plain  from  the  daman  or  plain  of  Dera 
Ismail  Khan  “  which  for  the  most  part  is  a  clay  desert 
formed  by  the  deposits  of  the  torrents  issuing  from  the 
Sulaiman  range  on  the  West.” 

Turning  to  the  mountainous  region  between  the  Set¬ 
tled  Districts  and  Afghanistan,  to  the  extreme  north  lies 
the  Agency  of  Dir,  Swat  and  Chitral.  Below  Chitral  are 

the  “thickly  timbered  forests”  of  Dir  and  Bajaur . 

Between  this  Agency  and  the  Khyber  lie  the  Mohmand 
hills,  a  rough,  rocky  country.  The  Khyber  itself  is  “  a 
little  narrow,  gloomy  gorge  ”  with  some  scanty  attempts 
at  cultivation  but  bristling  with  “  forts,  picket  posts  and 
block  houses  ”.  West  and  south-west  of  the  Khyber 
comes  the  country  of  the  Afridis  and  of  the  Orakzais. 
South  of  the  Kurram  lie  the  “  disorderly  congeries  of 
Waziri  Hills  ”,  intersected  by  the  Tochi  valley  in  the 
north  and  the  gorges  that  lead  to  Wana  plain  on  the 
south.  These  inhospitable  hills  are  for  the  most  part  bar¬ 
ren  and  treeless.  But  here  and  there  they  open  into  fertile 
and  well-irrigated  dales,  as  for  instance,  round  Shawal,  the 
summer  grazing  ground  of  the  Darwesh  Khel  which  is 
thickly  wooded. 

Before  the  partition  of  1947,  the  Province  used  to  be 
divided  politically  into  four  parts  :  (i)  the  Six  Settled  Dis¬ 
tricts  roughly  representing  the  territory  which  was  taken 
over  from  the  Sikhs  in  1849  with  a  population  of  about  25 
lakhs,  (ii)  the  belt  of  tribal  population  numbering  13  to  14 


THE  LAND  OF  CONTRASTS 


7 


lakhs  between  the  boundary  of  the  Settled  Districts  and 
the  border  of  the  Independent  Territory  which  was  subject 
to  the  political  control  of  the  Deputy  Commissioner  of  the 
Settled  Districts,  who  was  answerable  for  the  administra¬ 
tion  of  the  independent  tribes  to  the  Political  Department 
of  the  British  India  Government,  (iii)  the  northern  States 
within  the  Malakand  Agency,  viz.,  Chitral,  Dir,  and  Swat 
with  a  population  of  about  9J  lakhs,  (iv)  the  region  lying 
between  the  border  of  the  Tribal  Belt  and  the  Durand 
Line  and  constituting  the  Independent  Territory  with  a 
population  of  5  to  5i  lakhs  of  Pathans,  the  bulk  of  whom 
were  in  Tirah  and  Waziristan. 

The  bulk  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  N.  W.  P.  Province 
are  Pathans.  The  term  “  Pathan  ”  *  is  applied  to  any 
tribe  speaking  the  Pushtu  (Pukhtu)  language.  It  has  no 
racial  significance.  Thus  it  can  be  applied  to  Pushtu¬ 
speaking  Hindus  and  Sikhs  too  of  the  Frontier  Province, 
as  in  fact  it  often  was,  after  the  inauguration  of  the 
Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement.  The  Pathans  of  the  trans- 
border  Tribal  territory,  who  owe  no  dependence  to  Kabul, 
nor  to  the  British  Government,  are  hardier  and  fiercer  than 
their  fellow  clansmen  living  in  the  Settled  Districts  of  the 
North-West  Frontier  Province.  The  Tribal  Belt,  a  hilly 
country  between  the  Frontier  Province  proper  and  the 
Durand  Line  is  held  by  the  four  important  tribes  of  Afridis, 
Mohmands,  Waziris  and  Mahsuds.  Other  important 
tribes  are  the  Orakzais,  Usufzais,  Bhittanis,  Shinwaris  etc. 

Beginning  from  the  north,  the  Usufzais  inhabit  Buner 
and  the  hilly  country  beyond  the  vale  of  Peshawar.  The 
Usufzais  of  Buner  are  said  to  be  frugal  and  abstentious, 
yet  extremely  hospitable.  Even  the  smallest  village  pos¬ 
sesses  its  hujra  or  guest-house.  They  are  very  patriotic 
and  proud  of  their  descent,  “  of  which  they  eternally 
boast  ”  f 

To  the  north-west  of  Peshawar,  between  the  Kabul 
river  and  the  Swat  river  dwell  the  Mohmands.  In  their 


*  Rhymes  with  tarn,  not  to  be  pronounced  as  Paithan. 
t  Collin  Davies :  The  Problem  of  the  North-West  Frontier,  p.  60. 


8 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


domestic  customs  they  are  like  the  Usufzais,  except  that 
they  have  no  hujras.  Round  the  Khyber  and  to  the  south 
li\  e  the  much  maligned  Afridis  whom  circumstances  have 
foiced  to  become  “distrustful  of  all  mankind”.  Once, 
however,  ibis  distrust  is  removed,  the  Afridi  is  said  to  be 
capable  of  the  greatest  devotion,  and  “  may  turn  out  to  be 
your  staunchest  friend  * * * §  In  appearance  lean  and  wiry, 
“  his  eagle  eye,  proud  bearing  and  light  step  ”  f  bespeak  a 
freedom  born  of  his  wind-swept  mountain  glens.  The 
Afridis  played  a  very  important  part  during  the  two 
Afghan  Wars  and  during  the  Civil  Disobedience'  days  of 
1930,  when  the  brutalities  perpetrated  on  the  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  in  Peshawar  and  other  parts  of  the  Settled 
Districts  caused  a  deep  stir  among  them4 

The  southern  villages  of  Tirah  are  inhabited  by  hetero¬ 
geneous  tribes,  known  collectively  as  Orakzais  or  lost 
tribes.  Between  the  Kurram  and  the  Gomal  lies  Waziris- 
tan,  the  Frontier  Switzerland.  It  is  an  intricate  maze  of 
mountains  and  valleys.  Here  dwell  the  Waziris.  Tough 
and  rugged  as  the  mountains  which  they  inhabit,  their 
nature  has  the  untamed  fierceness  of  the  elements  around 
them.  An  important  off-shoot  of  the  Waziris  are  the 
Mahsuds,  nicknamed  the  “  scourge  of  the  Deraj at  bor¬ 
ders  ”.§  They  hold  the  heart  of  Waziristan.  The  Bhittanis 
occupy  the  territory  that  stretches  along  the  eastern  bor¬ 
ders  of  Waziristan,  from  the  Gomal  to  the  Marwat.  They 
have  a  long-standing  blood  feud  against  the  Mahsuds. 


*  Collin  Davies :  The  Problem  of  the  North-West  Frontier,  p.  62. 
t  Ibid. 

$  There  was  a  delectable  story  told  about  them  at  the  time  of 
the  Gandhi-Irwin  Truce,'  illustrating  their  simple  faith.  In  the 
conference  with  the  Political  authorities  their  ‘  terms  of  peace  ’  were 
stated  to  be  release  of : 

(i)  Badshah  Khan  (Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan), 

(ii)  Malang  Baba  (Naked  Fakir,  i.e.  Gandhiji),  and 

(iii)  Inquilab  (Revolution) ....  ( Inquilab  Zindabad  —  Long 
Live  the  Revolution  —  being  a  universal,  popular  slogan  those 
days,  they  equated  it  with  some  patriotic  individual  whom 
the  British  Government  had  imprisoned  !) 

§  Collin  Davies  :  The  Problem  of  the  North-West  Frontier,  p.  62. 


THE  LAND  OF  CONTRASTS 


9 


From  Bannu  through  Kohat  stretch  the  lands  of  the  Khat- 
taks.  Hardworking  and  industrious,  they  are  engaged  in 
agricultural  pursuits  or  find  employment  in  the  salt  trade. 
In  Bannu  dwell  the  Bannuchis  and  the  Marwats,  “  the 
most  mixed  and  the  most  hybrid  ”  of  the  Pathdh  tribes,  a 
“  mongrel  ”  race  who  represent  the  “  ebb  and  flow  of 
might,  right,  possession  and  spoliation  The  flat  and 
dreary  wastes  of  Dera  Ismail  Khan  are  peopled  chiefly 
by  Jats,  the  Pathan  element  forming  only  about  one-third 
of  the  total  population.  Similarly  in  the  Hazara  District 
the  bulk  of  the  population  is  non-Pathan,  being  composed 
of  Punjabi  Muslims,  Gakhars,  Syeds  etc. 

With  a  few  exceptions  the  tribesmen  are  all  Moham¬ 
medans  of  the  orthodox  Sunni  sect,  that  is  to  say,  they 
recognize  all  the  successors  of  Mohammad  and  accept  not 
only  the  Quran  but  also  the  Hadis  or  traditional  sayings 
not  embodied  in  the  Quran. 

The  language  of  the  Pathans  is  known  as  Pushtu  or 
Pukhtu.  It  has  a  close  affinity  to  Sanskrit  from  which  it 
is  derived.  It  boasts  of  a  well  developed  literature  and 
has  produced  some  remarkable  mystic  and  patriotic 
poetry,  the  best  known  writers  being  Khushal  Khattak, 
the  warrior  poet  (1630  A.  D.  — 1660  A.  D.)  and  the  great 
mystic  Abdur  Rehman  Baba.  The  Pathans  are  great 
lovers  of  their  language  and  feel  most  happy  when 
addressed  in  their  mother-tongue. 

During  the  British  period  the  internal  administration 
of  the  tribes  used  to  be  conducted  through  the  Maliks 
(tribal  chiefs)  and  the  Jirga  system.  Jirga  means  as¬ 
sembly  of  elders.  The  more  democratic  a  tribe  the  wider 
the  Jirga.  Full  Jirga  therefore  means  nothing  less  than 
a  gathering  of  every  adult  male.  It  has  been  remarked 
that  the  tribal  Jirga,  particularly  in  the  Agency  areas 
served  as  the  school  for  diplomacy  par  excellence  to  young 
British  officers. 

The  system  of  ‘  border  protection  ’  followed  by  the 
British  was  that  of  entrusting  as  much  as  possible  of 


*  Collin  Davies  :  The  Problem  of  the  North-West  Frontier,  p.  66. 


10 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


trans-Frontier  garrison  duty  and  watchful  guard  of 
unimportant  valleys  to  Khassadars  (local  levies)  and  pay¬ 
ing  handsome  allowances  to  tribesmen  and  Maliks  to  keep 
the  peace.  This  system  of  allowances  was  only  a  euphe¬ 
mism  for  blackmail  and  bribery  and  has  had  its  apologists 
among  British  Imperialists,  e.g.,  Davies,*  Bruce,  Sir 
Michael  O’Dwyer  and  others. 

In  Afghanistan,  Baluchistan  and  the  Frontier  Pro¬ 
vince  could  be  found  colonies  of  Hindus  and  Sikhs  in  the 
midst  of  Muslim  population.  Their  total  population  in  the 
Settled  Districts  was  computed  to  be  about  two  lakhs  in  a 
population  of  24  to  25  lakhs.  But  their  importance  and 
influence  was  not  to  be  judged  by  their  numbers.  Prac¬ 
tically  all  the  trade  of  the  Indian  border  land  was 
in  their  hands.  In  fact  they  constituted  an  economic 
necessity.  They  were  the  bankers,  the  pawnbrokers  and 
goldsmiths.  Everywhere  they  were  to  be  found  —  shop¬ 
keepers,  grain  dealers  and  cloth  merchants.  On  the  whole, 
their  relations  with  the  tribesmen  in  the  independent 
territory  were  peaceful. 


*  “  Allowances  may  be  expensive ;  may  savour  of  blackmail  to 
the  fastidious  ;  yet  they  are  infinitely  to  be  preferred  to  the  still 
more  expensive  system  of  punitive  expeditions.” 

—  Collin  Davies  :  The  Problem  of  the  North-West  Frontier, 
p.  33 


V 


CHAPTER  H 

THE  TRAMP  OF  CENTURIES 

Owing  to  its  unique  geographical  position  the  North- 
West  Frontier  Province  has  for  many  centuries  played  an 
important  role  in  Indian  history.  The  north-west  front¬ 
ier  of  India  is  not  represented  by  any  definite  boundary 
line.  It  is  a  zone  or  belt  of  mountains  of  varying  depths, 
stretching  for  a  distance  of  1,200  miles.  It  presents  an 
almost  impenetrable  barrier  to  any  foreign  invader  except 
where  it  is  pierced  by  the  Khyber,  Kurram,  Tochi,  Gomal 
and  Bolan  passes.  It  was  through  the  “north-western 
gate  ”  that  wave  after  wave  of  foreign  invasion  poured 
into  India  and  converted  this  province  into  the  caravan¬ 
serai  of  foreign  hordes,  the  ethnological  museum  of 
many  Asiatic  races.  Even  after  the  advent  of  European 
maritime  powers  on  the  Indian  seaboard,  the  Frontier 
Province  lost  none  of  its  importance.  It  continued  to 
dominate  British  Indian  foreign  policy  for  nearly  a  cen¬ 
tury.  The  Frontier  Province  with  its  adjoining  tribal 
area  has  been  likened  to  “  a  powder  magazine  where  the 
conditions  are  very  electrical”.  To  the  British  Imperial 
strategist  the  Independent  Territory,  without  a  power  to 
back  its  claim  to  independence,  represented  a  “  No-man’s 
Land  ”,  which  could  be  used  as  a  training  ground  *  to  keep 
the  fighting  force  in  trim,  border  skirmishing  and 

*  “  That  the  British  Exchequer  had  been  relieved  at  India’s 
expense  was  recently  acknowledged  in  a  practical  manner  by  the 
Report  of  the  Indian  Defence  Tribunal  (Cmd.  4473).  This  Tribunal 
allowed  £1,500,000  as  a  rebate  to  India  on  two  stated  grounds: 

(i)  That  India  provides  a  special  training  ground  for  British 
troops  on  active  service  ; 

(ii)  That  the  British  Army  in  India  is  available  for  imme¬ 
diate  use  in  the  East.” 

_ C.  F.  Andrews  :  The  Challenge  of  the  North-West  Frontier, 

p.  54. 


11 


12 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


expeditions  in  io  the  tribal  territory  providing  the  necessary 
exeicise.  The  young,  ambitious  Army  Officer  regarded  it 
as  an  ideal  “  shooting  preserve  ",  where  untrammelled  by 
international  conventions  he  could  engage  in  a  little  fili¬ 
bustering  on  his  own  to  gain  some  military  experience. 
In  fact  a  young  army  officer’s  training  was  not  supposed 
to  be  complete  unless  he  had  served  a  term  of  active  duty 
on  the  North-West  Frontier.  The  Frontier  Province  was- 
the  Political  Department’s  Eldorado,  its  close  preserve, 
where  everybody  who  was  not  of  its  freemasonry  was  a 
trespasser  and  which  in  the  interval  of  peace  offered  to 
Biitish  officers  a  field  of  distinction  when  that  of  war  is 
(was)  closed  ”.f 

Thanks  to  the  official  secrecy  with  which  this  “  veiled 
sanctuary  of  the  Political  and  Military  Officers  ”  has  been 
surrounded,  till  recently  the  average  person  even  in  India 
had  little  knowledge  of  this  fascinating  region  or  its  people, 
their  traditions  and  usages,  hopes  and  aspirations  and  the 
forces  that  made  them  wfiat  they  wore.  To  the  average 
Westerner,  the  Frontier  Province  was  just  the  land  with 
the  highest  murder  rate  in  the  world  ”,  the  witches’ 
cauldron  where  trouble  was  always  brewing  and  its  inha¬ 
bitant,  the  Pathan,  a  predatory  freebooter  with  “  the  law¬ 
lessness  of  centuries  in  his  blood  ”,* *  who  had  blood-feuds 
for  his  favourite  pastime  and  national  sport  and  raiding, 
kidnapping  and  holding  to  ransom  his  victims  as  his  main 
occupation  and  means  of  livelihood.  “  Villain  of  the  deep¬ 
est  dye,  treacherous,  pitiless,  vindictive,  blood-thirsty  ”  — 
these  are  some  of  the  epithets  that  have  been  applied  to 
him.  Nobody  seems  to  have  paused  to  consider  how,  for 
nearly  a  century  he  has  been  bullied  and  coerced  and 
deceived  and  used  as  a  pawn  in  the  game  (of  international 
power  politics).  “His  proud  bearing  and  resolute  step, 
his  mai  tial  instincts  and  independent  spirit,  his  frank 
open  manners  and  festive  temperament,  his  hatred  of 


f  Cited  by  Dewan  Chand  Obhrai  in  The  Evolution  of  North-West 
Frontier  Province. 

*  Collin  Davies  :  The  Problem  of  the  North-West  Frontier,  p.  80. 


THE  TRAMP  OF  CENTURIES 


13 


control,  his  love  of  country,  and  his  wonderful  powers  of 
endurance  ”  f  have  been  remarked  upon  by  many  writers 
from  Davies  downwards.  But  how  many  people  in  the 
West  are  fully  conversant  with  the  leading  part  which 
this  province  has  played  in  the  Indian  struggle  for 
independence,  or  with  the  great  movement  of  non- 
violence  that  grew  up  in  it  in  the  twenties  and 
proved  that  the  doughty  Pathan,  the  matchless  guer¬ 
rilla  fighter,  “the  best  umpire  in  mountain  warfare”, 
famed  in  history  for  his  martial  valour,  physical  stamina, 
unrivalled  marksmanship  and  skill  in  the  use  of  arms,  is 
also  capable  of  holding  the  place  of  honour  in  the  order 
of  the  “  terrible  meek  ”  and  excelling  in  the  bravery  of 
the  non-violent  variety  which  disdains  the  use  of  any 
other  weapon  except  that  of  the  spirit  and  against  which 
earthly  weapons  cannot  prevail  ? 

Rich  in  the  associations  of  India’s  long  history,  the 
North-West  Frontier  Province  is  strewn  with  imperish¬ 
able  Asokan  monuments  which  bear  witness  to  the  glory 
which  was  Buddhism  and  which  once  flourished  there  in 
its  full  splendour.  Peshawar  was  the  capital  of 
Kanishka’s  Buddhist  Empire  which  extended  from  the 
Vindhyas  to  Central  Asia.  To  Taxila,  the  “biggest 
University  in  the  East  ”  in  its  time,  pilgrims  and  students 
from  the  Far  East  and  the  West  came  in  quest  of  piety 
and  learning.  Later  when  the  famous  Nalanda  Uni¬ 
versity  was  founded  in  Bihar  in  the  4th  century  A.  D., 
most  of  the  students  there  were  from  this  part  of  the  Bud¬ 
dhist  domain  which  became  the  meeting  place  of  three 
great  cultures  —  the  Indian,  the  Chinese  and  the  Graeco- 
Roman.  It  was  across  these  Frontier  tracts  that  India 
sent  her  message  of  art  and  religion  to  the  Far  East. 

The  earliest  glimpse  that  we  have  of  the  region 
known  today  as  the  N.  W.  F.  Province  is  in  connection 
with  the  great  Aryan  immigration  into  India  across  the 
snow-clad  Hindu  Kush  which,  starting  from  the  river 
Oxus  towards  the  valley  of  Herat,  fanned  out  through 


t  Collin  Davies:  The  Problem  of  the  North-West  Frontier,  p.  48. 


14 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Ghazni  and  Kabul  on  one  side  and  through  Kandahar  and 
the  Sulaiman  mountains  on  the  other,  to  the  country  water¬ 
ed  by  the  river  Indus.  In  the  great  epic  Mahabharata, 
which  is  supposed  to  have  been  composed  in  about  3000 
B.C.,  figures  the  celebrated  heroine  Gandhari  —  native 
of  Gandhar  (modern  Peshawar)  the  mother  of  the  Kaura- 
vas,  the  rulers  of  Hastinapur  (modern  Delhi).  Panini,  the 
great  Sanskrit  grammarian  —  perhaps  the  greatest  gram¬ 
marian  that  the  world  has  produced  —  was  born  and  bred 
in  this  region.  Peshawar  is  said  to  have  been  founded  by 
Parashurama,  the  great  brahmana  warrior  who  figures  in 
the  other  ancient  epic  of  India  —  the  Ramayana.  About 
the  5th  century  B.  C.  Cyrus,  King  of  Persia,  led  his  army 
into  the  territory  that  corresponds  to  the  modern  Afghan¬ 
istan  and  Baluchistan,  and  Darius  I  annexed  Gandhar 
(modern  Peshawar  and  Rawalpindi  Districts).  The  pro¬ 
vince  provided  troops  to  Xerxes  for  his  invasion  of  Greece. 

In  326  B.  C.  the  Greeks  under  Alexander  the  Great, 
entered  India  and  conquered  the  Peshawar  valley  which 
was  at  that  time  under  the  rule  of  a  Raja  whose  capital 
was  Pushkarwati  —  the  modern  Charsadda,  on  the  Kabul 
river  —  and  made  it  into  a  Governor’s  province  under  a 
Macedonian  officer  named  Philip.  The  Hindu  chief  of 
Taxila,  then  a  great  centre  of  Buddhistic  learning,  labour¬ 
ing  under  a  grievance  against  his  neighbour,  King  Porus, 
invited  the  foreign  invader  to  attack  his  rival.  Porus  was 
overthrown  in  battle  and  Alexander,  after  restoring  his 
kingdom  to  him,  pushed  on  as  far  as  the  Beas  where  his 
troops  refused  to  march  further  against  the  powerful  King 
of  Magadha  and  the  Macedonian  had  to  retreat.  After 
Alexander’s  death  in  323  B.  C.,  Ambhi,  the  Governor  of 
Taxila,  and  Porus  —  their  power  broken  by  the  Greek  in¬ 
vasion  — were  subdued  by  Chandragupta  and  their  terri¬ 
tory  was  incorporated  in  the  Maurya  Empire  of  the  King 
of  Magadha.  The  whole  of  Afghanistan  and  Frontier  tracts 
of  northern  India,  including  Kashmir,  came  under  the 
highly  developed  civil  and  military  administrative  system 
of  Chandragupta,  as  detailed  in  the  Arthashastra  of  Kau- 
tilya,  his  world-famed  Minister  of  State.  In  Chandragupta’s 


THE  TRAMP  OF  CENTURIES 


15 


reign  (300  B.  C.)  Buddhism  became  the  prevailing  reli¬ 
gion  in  Gandhara  (Peshawar  District)  and  Pakhli 
(Hazara  District).  The  Maurya  Empire  culminated  in  the 
Apostle  Empire  of  Asoka,  perhaps  the  greatest  monarch 
in  the  world  that  ever  lived.  He  made  Buddhism  the 
State  religion  and  abolished  war,  touched  by  the  miseries 
of  a  victorious  war  against  Kalinga  in  which  100,000  were 
slain  on  the  battlefield.  Thereafter,  instead  of  sending 
emissaries  of  war,  he  sent  forth  only  emissaries  of  peace 
to  deliver  sermons  on  Peace  and  the  Supreme  Law  to  the 
nations  of  the  world.*  Under  him  was  developed  an 
elaborate  system  of  Imperial  administration  based  on 

*  This  is  how  the  event  is  described  in  the  famous  XHIth 
(Kalinga)  Edict  : 

“  The  Kalingas  were  conquered  by  His  Sacred  and  Gracious 
Majesty  the  King  when  he  had  been  consecrated  eight  years. 
150,000  persons  were  thence  carried  away  captive,  100,000  were 
there  slain  and  many  times  that  number  perished. 

“  Directly  after  the  annexation  of  the  Kalingas  began  His 
Sacred  Majesty’s  zealous  protection  of  the  Law  of  Piety,  his 
love  of  that  Law,  and  his  giving  instruction  in  that  Law 
( dharma ).  Thus  arose  His  Sacred  Majesty’s  remorse  for  having 
conquered  the  Kalingas,  because  the  conquest  of  a  country  pre¬ 
viously  unconquered  involves  the  slaughter,  death  and  carrying 
away  captive  of  the  people.  That  is  a  matter  of  profound  sorrow 
and  regret  to  His  Sacred  Majesty. 

“  Thus  of  all  the  people  who  were  there  slain,  done  to  death 
or  carried  away  captive  in  the  Kalingas,  if  the  100th  or  the 
1000th  part  were  to  suffer  the  same  fate,  it  would  now  be  matter^, 
of  regret  to  His  Sacred  Majesty.  Moreover,  should  any  one  do 
him  wrong,  that  too  must  be  borne  with  by  His  Sacred  Majesty 
if  it  can  possibly  be  borne  with. 

“  And  this  is  the  chiefest  conquest  in  the  opinion  of  His 
Sacred  Majesty  —  the  Conquest  by  the  Law  of  Piety  —  and  this 
again,  has  been  won  by  His  Sacred  Majesty  both  in  his  own 
dominions  and  in  all  the  neighbouring  realms  as  far  as  600 
leagues . 

“  And  for  this  purpose  has  this  pious  edict  been  written  in 
order  that  my  sons  and  grandsons,  who  may  be,  should  not  re¬ 
gard  it  as  their  duty  to  conquer  a  new  country.  If  perchance, 
they  become  engaged  in  a  conquest  by  arms,  they  should  take 
pleasure  in  patience  and  gentleness  and  regard  as  (the  only 
true)  conquest,  the  conquest  won  by  piety.  That  avails  for  both 
this  world  and  the  next.” 


16 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


compassion  and  dharma  —  the  law,  of  which  Greek  writers 
have  left  us  a  detailed  account.  His  edicts  and  inscriptions 
found  at  Shahbazgarh  and  near  Mansehra  mention  Taxila 
as  one  of  his  subordinate  territories.  Asoka’s  Frontier 
policy  was  to  maintain  peaceful  relations  with  his  neigh¬ 
bours  and  not  to  enlarge  his  kingdom  by  conquest.  The 
first  Kalinga  edict  desired  that  “  the  unsubdued  borderers 
should  not  be  afraid  pf  me,  that  they  should  trust  me  and 
should  receive  from  me  happiness  and  not  sorrow  ”. 

Asoka  died  in  231  B.C.  and  with  him  passed  away 
Buddhism  as  the  State  Church.  From  the  middle  of  the 
2nd  century  B.C.  till  about  135  B.C.  Bactrian  kings  ruled 
over  Bactria,  Kabul,  Gandhar  and  Taxila.  Next  came  the 
Scythians  called  Sakas  (135  B.C.)  and  were  followed  by 
the  Kushans  who,  driven  from  their  own  mountains  by 
the  Huns,  overran  the  territory  held  by  Yavana,  Saka  and 
Pahlavi  rulers.  By  about  29  A.D.  they  were  ruling  in 
Taxila.  The  empire  of  Kanishka,  the  third  of  the  Kushan 
Kings  extended  over  North-West  India  and  Kashmir  with 
Purushpura  (Peshawar)  as  his  capital.  The  Kushan  kings 
continued  to  rule  over  the  north-west  territory  up  to  the 
time  of  the  Hun  invasion  in  the  5th  century  A.D.  It  next 
formed  part  of  Harsha’s  empire  (7th  century  A.  D.). 

The  Arabs  came  to  India  about  710  A.D.  and  Sabuk- 
tagin,  the  third  in  the  order  of  Slave  Kings  of  Balkh  and 
Ghazni  accompanied  by  Waziri  and  Afridi  hordes  occu- 
"“pied  Peshawar  and  the  plains  west  of  the  Indus.  Mahmud 
of  Ghazni’s  invasions  followed.  But  Mahmud  never  aim¬ 
ed  at  permanent  conquest  of  India.  However,  all  the 
trans-Indus  portion  of  the  present  Frontier  Province  was 
held  in  fief  by  him.  But  his  brother  Mohammad  Ghori 
of  Ghazni  occupied  Peshawar  in  1180  A.D.  Thereafter 
through  the  period  covered  by  the  Slave,  Khilji  and  Tugh- 
lak  dynasties,  till  the  well-established  reigfi  of  Akbar  in 
the  Mughal  times,  these  parts  experienced  an  unrelieved 
spell  of  chaos,  misrule  and  anarchy,  which  became  chronic, 
varied  by  an  occasional  foreign  invasion.  The  most  nota¬ 
ble  of  these  was  of  Timur,  the  Tartar,  who  left  his  capital 
of  Samarkand  in  Central  Asia  with  a  vast  concourse 


GANDHIJI  WITH  THE  KHAN  BROTHERS 
“  Never  forgot  his  cricket.” 


. 


. 


' 


■ 


■ 


THE  TRAMP  OF  CENTURIES 


17 


of  cavalry  and  passing  through  Kabul  came  down 
through  the  Khyber  Pass  as  far  as  Delhi,  which  he  sacked 
for  five  days  and  where  he  massacred  100,000  male  Hindu 
prisoners  of  war,  building  a  tower  out  of  their  skulls. 
“  After  him,”  to  quote  Fielding  King  Hall,  “  not  a  bird 
moved  wing  for  whole  two  months  in  Delhi.”  His 
ostensible  reason  for  the  expedition  was  the  fact  that  as 
a  strict  Muslim  he  was  “  disgusted  by  the  tolerance  w'hich 
the  then  Mohammedan  rulers  of  Delhi  were  extending 
towards  Hinduism  ”.* 

During  Akbar’s  well-ordered  and  tolerant  reign,  East¬ 
ern  Baluchistan  and  the  great  Persian  fortress  of  Kandahar 
were  added  to  the  northern  dominions  and  continued  to 
form  part  of  the  Moghal  Empire  till  after  the  reign  of 
Aurangazeb.  During  the  latter’s  reign  and  towards  the 
close  of  his  father  Emperor  Shah  Jehan’s  reign,  trouble 
arose  beyond  the  Indus  due  to  the  Yusufzai  rising  and 
the  rising  of  the  Khattaks  respectively,  and  was  put  down 
by  sending  out  retaliatory  columns  against  them.  After 
the  initial  reverse  of  the  Moghal  arms,  the  Khattaks  joined 
the  Afridi  confederacy  and  there  was  a  general  rising 
“  from  Kandahar  to  Attock  ”.  The  Emperor  himself  con¬ 
ducted  operations  (1664  A.D.)  to  reduce  the  Yusufzais  and 
“  by  skilful  diplomacy  contrived  to  bring  the  situation  well 
in  hand  ”.  His  policy,  which  was  the  precursor  of  the 
policy  later  followed  by  the  British  Government,  was  “  to 
set  one  tribe  against  another  and  to  subsidize  their  chiefs 
into  keeping  peace  on  the  Frontier,  where  the  establish¬ 
ment  of  military  posts  proved  less  effective  ”.f 

Nadir  Shah,  the  Persian  monarch,  overran  the  Frontier 
province  in  1739  A.D.  when  he  crossed  the  Indus,  just  as 
Timur  the  Lame  had  done  in  1388,  carrying  fire  and  sword 
wherever  he  went.  After  his  assassination  in  1739 
Ahmed  Shah  Abdali  (1747-1773)  formed  the  Provin¬ 
ces  of  Kandahar,  Kabul  and  Ghazni,  along  with  the  area 


*  Cited  by  Fielding  King  Hall  in  Thirty  Days  of  India,  p.  188. 
t  Dewan  Chand  Obhrai :  The  Evolution  of  North-West  Frontier 
Province,  p.  23. 


P-2 


18 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


around  Peshawar,  Derajat  and  Hazara,  Sindh,  Kashmir 
and  Multan  into  a  separate  Durrani  kingdom. 

Following  upon  the  break  up  of  the  Durrani  kingdom 
and  till  the  advent  of  Sikh  rule,  the  Central  Government 
exercised  only  “  a  sort  of  irregular  and  disturbed  autho¬ 
rity  over  the  tract  known  as  the  Frontier  Maharaja 
Ranjit  Singh,  the  Sikh  ruler  of  the  Punjab,  pushed  the 
Afghan  settlers  out  of  the  North-West  Frontier  and  by 
1820  had  occupied  the  territory  around  Peshawar,  Bannu, 
Kohat  and  portions  of  Derajat.  He  may  thus  be  said  to 
have  “  created  ”  the  present  N.  W.  F.  Province  by  sweep¬ 
ing  the  Afghans  back  across  the  Indus  into  their 
mountains.  The  Sikh  rule  over  the  Frontier  Province 
(1834-48),  however,  was  that  of  the  sword  alone.  Dacoi- 
ties  and  blood-feuds  were  unchecked,  and  even  more 
calamitous  than  these  were  the  periodical  visits  of  the 
Sikhs  for  revenue  collection,  when,  in  the  words  of  Major 
James,  “  crowds  of  women  and  children  fled  frightened 
from  their  homes  and  the  country  presented  the  appear¬ 
ance  of  an  emigrating  colony.” 

After  Maharaja  Ranjit  Singh’s  death,  his  kingdom  fell 
into  anarchy  and  a  period  of  gross  misrule  and  chaos  fol¬ 
lowed.  Sikh  power  was  completely  broken  at  the  con¬ 
clusion  of  the  First  Sikh  War.  But  the  danger  of  Afghan 
armies  crossing  the  Frontier  and  sweeping  across  the 
trans-Indus  territory  impelled  the  British  power  to  aban¬ 
don  the  idea  of  annexing  the  Punjab  and* to  recognize  the 
minor  Maharaja  Daleep  Singh  as  the  ruler  of  that  pro¬ 
vince.  Under  the  treaty  of  16th  December  1846  the  power 
of  administration  was  vested  in  a  Council  of  Regency, 
“  acting  under  the  control  and  guidance  of  the  British 
Resident  ”.  The  treaty  of  16th  December  further  provided 
that  “  a  British  officer  with  an  efficient  establishment  of 
assistants  shall  be  appointed  by  the  Governor-General  to 
remain  at  Lahore,  which  officer  shall  have  full  authority 
to  direct  and  control  all  matters  in  every  department  of 

the  State . ”  Sir  Henry  Lawrence  and  Reynal  Taylor 

were  accordingly  posted  at  Peshawar,  Major  Abbot  in 
Hazara  and  Mr.  Herbert  at  Attock.  In  the  Christmas  season 


THE  TRAMP  OF  CENTURIES 


19 


of  1847  Major  Edwards  was  ordered  to  subjugate  to  the 
Khalsa  Dewan  “  the  wild  valley  of  Bannu  ”  for  failure  on 
the  part  of  the  Bannuchees  (inhabitants  of  Bannu  District) 
to  pay  land  revenue.  Profusely  watered  by  two  streams, 
the  valley  was  one  “in  which  the  crops  never  failed  and 
where  the  richest  and  idlest  agriculture  was  overpaid  with 
almost  all  Indian  grains  in  abundance  What  followed 
is  graphically  described  by  Major  Herbert  Edwards  in  his 
A  Year  on  the  Punjab  Frontier  and  is,  in  fact,  an  epitome 
of  the  history  of  subsequent  British  rule  in  India  : 

“  It  (the  valley)  was  gained  neither  by  shot  nor  shell,  but 
simply  by  balancing  two  races  and  two  creeds.  For  fear  of  a 
Sikh  army,  two  warlike  and  independent  Mohammedan  tribes 
levelled  to  the  ground  at  my  bidding,  the  four  hundred  forts 
which  constituted  the  strength  of  their  country  and  for  fear  of 
those  same  Mohammedan  tribes,  the  Sikh  army,  at  my  bidding, 
constructed  a  fortress  for  the  Crown  Avhich  completed  the  sub¬ 
jugation  of  the  valley.  Thus  was  a  barbarous  people  brought 
peacefully  within  the  pale  of  civilization  and  one  well-intentioned 
Englishman  accomplished  in  three  months,  without  a  struggle, 
a  conquest  which  the  fanatic  Sikh  nation  had  vainly  attempted 
with  fire  and  sword  for  five  and  twenty  years.” 


CHAPTER  III 

FROM  ROADS  TO  RAIDS 

In  1849  after  Lord  Dalhousie’s  formal  annexation  of 
the  Punjab,  the  North-Western  Frontier  districts  came 
under  the  East  India  Company’s  administration.  It 
brought  British  India  into  direct  contact  with  several  in¬ 
dependent  and  warlike  Pathan  tribes  occupying  the  so- 
called  “  tribal  territory  ”  and  opened  a  new  phase  in 
Frontier  policy.  The  foreign  relations  of  India  with 
Afghanistan  during  British  rule  passed  through  several 
phases  at  different  times,  but  running  through  consistently 
was  the  policy  of  maintaining  the  independence  of  the 
ruling  house  so  long  as  it  remained  in  friendly  relations 
with  England  and  entirely  free  from  the  subversive  in¬ 
fluences  of  other  rival  powers,  particularly  Russia,  whose 
moves  in  Central  Asia  were  Britain’s  constant  headache 
from  the  middle  of  the  last  century.  There  was  the 
“  alarmist  policy  ”  when  Mount  Stuart  Elphinstone  was 
sent  out  on  his  “  Kabul  Mission  ”  in  1809.  Then  came  the 
“  meddling  policy  ”  in  1832  when  A.  Burns  passed  through 
on  his  “  commercial  mission  ”  and  again  in  1838,  when 
General  Keene  advanced  into  Afghanistan  to  dethrone  the 
popular  Barakzai  chief,  Dost  Mohammad,  and  to  place  on 
the  throne  a  friendly  king,  Shah  Shujah,  thus  giving  rise 
to  the  first  Afghan  War  (1839-42).  The  first  phase  ended 
disastrously  for  the  British  with  the  assassination  of  Sir 
William  Macnaughten,  the  British  envoy,  and  Sir  William 
Burns,  the  Political  Agent,  and  the  loss  of  all  but  one  of 
the  British  troops  garrisoned  at  Kabul.  An  “  avenging 
army  ”  was  then  sent.  It  swept  on  to  Kabul,  blew  up 
the  Great  Bazar  —  “an  inexcusable  act  of  vandalism”,  as 
General  Roberts  afterwards  described  it.  British  prestige 
being  thus  “  retrieved  ”,  the  British  forces  returned  to  India 
leaving  Afghanistan  to  stew  in  its  own  juice.  This  was 
followed  by  the  policy  of  “  masterly  inactivity  ”  of  Sir 
John  Lawrence  when,  on  the  death  of  Amir  Dost  Moham¬ 
mad  Khan  in  1863,  he  refused  to  side  with  either  of  the 

20 


KHYBER  PASS 

‘  Murderous  high  road . boulevard  of  sudden  death.’ 


FROM  ROADS  TO  RAIDS 


21 


two  disputing  sons.  But  when  Sher  Ali  emerged  victo¬ 
rious  from  the  contest,  the  Viceroy  acknowledged  him  as 
the  Amir. 

The  Russian  move  towards  Khiva  in  1864,  the  occu¬ 
pation  of  Yarkand  in  1865  and  the  reduction  of  Bokhara 
“  to  the  position  of  a  vassal  State  ”  in  1867  and  similarly 
of  Khiva  in  1873,  were  interpreted  as  a  definite  menace 
by  the  British  Government  to  her  far  eastern  possession. 
When  on  top  of  it,  Amir  Sher  Ali  refused  to  receive  a  Bri¬ 
tish  mission  under  Lord  Lytton,  with  a  view  to  entering 
into  a  definite  alliance  with  the  throne  of  Kabul,  it  was 
treated  as  a  “  contemptuous  disregard  of  British  interests  ” 
and  the  Amir’s  reception  of  a  Russian  envoy  “  as  an  act 
of  war  against  the  British  Government  in  India 

In  1878,  the  policy  of  sticking  to  the  Frontier  and 
of  defending  India  against  any  foreign  attack  on  the  bor¬ 
der  line  then  existing  gave  way  to  what  came  to  be  known 
as  the  “  Forward  Policy  ”  of  abiding  occupation  of  Afghan¬ 
istan  or  part  thereof  in  British  interests.  In  pursuance  of 
this  policy  which  was  of  a  piece  with  Napier’s  exploit  in 
Sindh  described  in  his  famous  “  Peccavi  —  I  have  sinned 
( Scind )  ”  despatch,  a  British  agency  was  established 
at  Gilgit,  followed  by  a  declaration  of  war  and  an 
attack  on  Kabul  from  three  different  routes  (The 
Second  Afghan  War).  Quetta  was  taken  because  “  it 
would  open  the  way  to  Kandahar  and  permit  the  outflank¬ 
ing  of  an  enemy  seeking  to  advance  against  India  by  the 
northern  passes.”  f  By  the  treaty  of  Gandmark  (1880)  the 
Amir  of  Kabul  agreed  to  receive  a  British  Resident  at 
Kabul  and  to  cede  to  the  English  the  eastern  part  of  the  old 
sub-province  of  Kandahar  besides  giving  them  the  occu¬ 
pation  of  the  passes.  The  modified  Frontier '  line  known 
as  the  Durand  Line  fixed  in  1894  along  the  crests  of 
the  Sulaiman  Range  brought  the  tribes  of  the  Khyber  and 
Mohmand  Tirah,  Kurram  and  Waziristan  within  the  Bri¬ 
tish  sphere  of  influence.  Strong  military  forces  were 

*  Cited  by  Dewan  Chand  Obhrai  in  The  Evolution  of  North-West 
Frontier  Province ,  p.  41. 

f  Ibid.,  p.  42. 


22 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


stationed  at  Peshawar,  Nowshera,  Risalpur,  Landikotal 
and  Kurram  to  enable  the  British  effectively  to  control 
the  passes,  and  by  steady  penetration  tribal  areas  were 
“  opened  up  ”  and  further  military  outposts  established  at 
Wana  —  in  the  heart  of  the  Mahsud  territory,  —  Razmak 
and  Miram  Shah,  backed  by  an  elaborate  system  of  strate¬ 
gic  motor-roads,  picket-posts  and  block-houses  with  forts 
at  commanding  positions. 

In  1901  the  five  Settled  Districts  of  Hazara,  Peshawar, 
Kohat,  Bannu  and  Dera  Ismail  Khan  and  five  agencies 
were  separated  from  the  Punjab  and  constituted  into  a 
separate  N.  W.  Frontier  Province  by  Lord  Curzon. 
The  former  were  put  under  the  Chief  Commis¬ 
sioner  assisted  by  a  Revenue  and  Judicial  Com¬ 
missioner  and  the  latter  under  the  same  officer  in 
his  capacity  as  the  Agent  to  the  Governor-General, 
directly  under  the  control  of  the  Central  Government, 
“  so  that  the  conduct  of  external  relations  with  the  tribes 
on  the  Punjab  Frontier  should  be  more  directly  than 
hitherto  under  the  control  and  the  supervision  of  British 
India  The  N.  W.  F.  Province  was  excluded  from  the 
political  reforms  under  the  Montford  scheme  of  1919-20. 

The  immediate  result  of  the  separation  was  to  throw 
back  the  five  advanced  and  settled  trans-Indus  districts 
to  a  “  lower  system  of  administration  ”.  While  the  rest 
of  India,  including  the  parent  province  of  the  Punjab  from 
which  it  was  torn  away,  was  put  under  a  system  of  self- 
government  through  the  reformed  councils  in  the  pro¬ 
vinces,  the  Frontier  Province  got  the  Chief  Commissioner’s 
autocratic  rule  with  the  added  incubus  of  the  Frontier 
Crimes  Regulation  III  of  1901,*  which  denied  to  the  citizen 

*  “  It  provided  for  powers  of  courts  and  officers ;  the  civil  re¬ 
ferences  to  council  of  elders  ;  penalties  in  shape  of  blockade  of  tribes, 
or  fines  on  communities ;  with  power  to  prohibit  election  of  new 
villages,  or  to  direct  removal  of  villages,  regulation  of  hujras,  chauks, 
demolition  of  buildings  used  by  robbers  ;  powers  to  arrest,  security 
and  surveillance,  and  imprisonment  with  a  view  to  prevent  crimes 
etc.,  giving  no  right  of  appeal,  but  a  restricted  power  of  civil  or 
criminal  revision  by  the  Chief  Commissioner.”  —  Dewan  Chand 
Obhrai :  The  Evolution  of  North-West  Frontier  Province,  p.  118. 


FROM  ROADS  TO  RAIDS 


23 


even  the  elementary  right  of  legal  defence.  The  contrast 
was  so  glaring  that  it  created  a  lot  of  discontent  among 
the  nationalist  section  of  the  Hindus  and  Muslims  both, 
who  demanded  re-amalgamation  of  the  province 
with  the  Punjab.  Partly  as  a  result  of  this  agitation,  after 
the  Second  Indian  Round  Table  Conference  (1931),  the 
province  was  elevated  to  the  status  of  a  Governor’s  pro¬ 
vince  with  a  constitution  analogous  to  other  Indian  pro¬ 
vinces  and  a  subvention  from  the  centre  to  the  tune  of 
about  a  crore  of  rupees  annually  to  enable  the  five  Settled 
Districts  which  formed  a  miniature  deficit  province,  to 
balance  the  budget. 

The  annexation  of  the  Punjab  in  1849,  had  brought 
with  it  an  evil  legacy  which  gave  the  Frontier  no  peace.f 
IJp  till  the  arrival  of  Lord  Lytton  (1876)  the  Punjab 
Frontier,  in  the  words  of  Davies,  was  controlled  by  a 
system  of  “  non-intervention  varied  by  expeditions  ”. 
“  Non-intervention  ”,  was,  however,  a  myth.*  Between 
1849  and  the  outbreak  of  the  Sepoy  Rising  of  1857,  there 
were  altogether  17  expeditions.  Between  the  outbreak  of 
the  Second  Afghan  War  and  the  Pathan  Revolt  of  1897, 
there  were  16  expeditions  against  Frontier  tribes.  In  July 
1897  there  was  an  extensive  Pathan  revolt.  Malakand 

t  “  The  administrative  line  which  really  followed  the  boundary 
which  the  British  had  inherited  from  the  Sikhs,  possessed  no  mili¬ 
tary  value  whatever  and  was  like  most  Indian  Frontiers,  more  likely 
to  provide  subjects  of  dispute  than  to  secure  a  clear-cut  division  of 
Interests  between  two  neighbouring  states  ”. 

—  Cambridge  History  of  India,  p.  89. 

*  “  In  February  1921  it  was  pointed  out  in  the  Indian  Legislative 
Assembly  that  the  policy  of  the  Government  of  India  had  always  been 
one  of  non-interference ....  This  statement  of  policy  cannot  be  ac¬ 
cepted.” 

—  Collin  Davies  :  The  Problem  of  the  North-West  Frontier,  p.  181. 

And  again, 

“  It  is  my  considered  opinion,  after  sifting  all  the  available  evi¬ 
dence,  that  the  1897  disturbances  were  mainly  the  result  of  the 
■advances  that  had  taken  place  in  the  nineties.  Although  many  of 
these  were  justified  from  the  military  point  of  view,  they  nevertheless 
were  looked  upon  as  encroachments  into  tribal  territory”. 

—  Ibid,  p.  98. 


24 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Ridge  was  attacked  by  tribesmen  in  great  force  -led  by 
the  Mad  Mullah  who  proclaimed  a  Jehad  (holy  war)  against 
the  British.  Almost  simultaneously  there  was  invasion  of 
the  Peshawar  valley  across  the  Kabul  river  by  a  combined 
lashkar  in  which  Afridis  of  the  Khyber  Pass  joined.  It 
resulted  in  the  despatch  of  the  Tirah  expedition  into  the 
Mohmand  territory  to  “  chastise  ”  the  Afridis.  The  grow¬ 
ing  conviction  that  it  was  physically  difficult  to  conquer 
and  hold  Afghanistan  without  incurring  ruinous  expendi¬ 
ture  in  men  and  money,  “  which  sound  strategy  suggested 
ought  to  be  thrown  on  the  enemy  ”,  led  to  a  gradual 
abandonment  of  the  Forward  Policy  and  the  substi¬ 
tution  of  a  policy  of  cultivating  friendship  with  a  strong, 
stable  and  independent  Afghanistan  under  a  ruler  pre¬ 
pared  to  give  control  of  the  independent  tribes  on  the 
borders  to  the  British  Government.  Accordingly,  Amir 
Abdur  Rahman  was  elevated  to  the  Kabul  throne  which 
he  held  for  many  years,  supported  by  British  arms  and  a 
handsome  subsidy  from  the  India  Government  towards  the 
defence  of  his  kingdom.  The  policy  held  good  during  the 
reign  of  his  successor,  Amir  Habibur  Rahman,  who  was 
murdered  in  1919.  The  holding  of  the  “  Scientific  Frontier 
Line  ”,  however,  brought  in  its  own  complications.  By 
bringing  the  British  power  into  direct  touch  with  the 
trans-border  tribes,  it  virtually  enabled  the  Amir  of 
Afghanistan  to  transfer  his  headache  to  his  erstwhile  an¬ 
tagonist,  the  British  power.  Under  the  treaty  of  Gandamak 
with  Afghanistan  and  “  political  arrangement  ”  (another 
name  for  coercion)  with  border  tribes,  the  British  Gov¬ 
ernment  had  secured  to  themselves  the  control  of  the 
passes  and  territorial  rights  in  respect  of  two  military 
routes  from  India  to  Kabul,  one  by  the  Khyber,  the  other 
by  the  Kurram.  This  in  its  turn  led  to  a  steady  pene¬ 
tration  into  the  tribal  territory  which  gave  to  the  tribes¬ 
men  the  “  blessing  ”  of  a  system  of  metalled  roads  and 
strategic  railways  strangely  at  variance  with  their  econo¬ 
mic  and  political  backwardness.  These  roads  could 
easily  be  the  envy  of  any  civilized  part  of  the  West, 
and  the  strategic  railways,  particularly  those  beyond  the 


FROM  ROADS  TO  RAIDS 


25 


boundaries  of  the  Settled  Districts,  winding  their  way 
round  the  hills  and  through  the  mountain  sides,  stood  out. 
as  a  remarkable  monument  to  British  engineering  skill. 
But  they  failed  to  enthuse  the  independent  tribesman.  The 
latter  might  have  been  ignorant ;  he  was  not  unintelligent. 
He  only  saw  in  these  roads  and  block-houses  the  symbol 
and  instrument  of  his  subjugation  and  resented  the  sei¬ 
zure  of  every  inch  of  ground  by  the  British  Government 
for  strategic  purpose  as  an  act  of  unprovoked  aggression. 
The  usual  consequences  followed,  trans-border  raids  being 
met  with  punitive  expeditions  by  the  British.  The 
result  was  a  “  ceaseless  and  chronic  state  of  war  ”  between 
the  tribesmen  and  the  British  forces.  For  instance,  every 
man,  woman,  and  child  in  the  clan  (the  Zakkas),  accord¬ 
ing  to  Major  Roos-Keppel,*  looked  upon  those  who  com¬ 
mitted  murder,  raids  and  robberies  in  Peshawar  or  Kohat 
as  heroes  and  champions.  They  were  the  crusaders  of  the 
nation.  They  departed  with  the  good  wishes  and  prayers-, 
of  all,  and  were  “  received  on  their  return  after  a  success¬ 
ful  raid  with  universal  rejoicings.” 

To  take  an  instance,  down  to  1893  Waziristan,  like 
the  rest  of  Independent  Territory,  was  beyond  the  British, 
sphere  of  influence  and  was  treated  as  part  of  Afghan¬ 
istan.  By  the  Durand  Agreement  Amir  Abdur  Rahman. 
Khan  renounced  claim  upon  it.  Raids  and  offences  of  all 
sorts  were  extremely  rare  in  the  eighties.  But  during  the 
demarcation  of  the  Durand  Line,  there  was  an  attack  on 
the  escort  at  Wana.  It  resulted  in  the  campaign  of  1894-98- 
Till  1912,  not  a  single  road  was  completed  in  Waziristan 
territory.  A  road  from  Thai  to  Idak  in  the  Tochi 
area  appeared  for  the  first  time  on  the  map  in  1913-14. 
The  scheme  of  strategic  roads  in  Waziristan  was  in  hand 
when  the  Mahsuds  rose  and  field  operations  had  to  be 
undertaken  against  them.  From  1917  to  1924  was  the 
period  of  the  Mahsud  Expedition  and  occupation  and  a 
vigorous  strategic  roads  construction  programme.  The 

*  Cited  by  C.  F.  Andrews  in  The  Challenge  of  the  North-West 
Frontier,  p.  62. 


26 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


result  was  a  sharp  rise  in  the  number  of  trans-border 
annual  raids.  The  following  table  will  show  the  inter-rela¬ 
tion  between  the  roads  and  raids  : 


Year 

No.  of  raids 

Year 

No.  of  raids 

1911-12 

71 

1918-19 

189 

1912-13 

77 

1919-20 

611 

1913-14 

93 

1920-21 

391 

1914-15 

165 

1921-22 

194 

1915-16 

345 

1922-23 

131 

1916-17 

292 

1923-24 

69 

1917-18 

223 

To  the  Army  Department  of  the  British  India  Gov¬ 
ernment,  this  was  not  altogether  unwelcome.  There  was 
a  general  outcry  in  India  at  the  bulk  of  the  revenue  of 
the  country  ranging  up  to  60  per  cent  of  the  total  being 
absorbed  by  “  military  expenditure  ”  and  occasional  skir¬ 
mishes  and  sending  of  expeditions  into  the  tribal  area 
provided  a  convenient  justification  for  it.  *  But  it  was  the 
British  Indian  subjects  of  the  Frontier  in  particular  who 
paid  the  price.  The  tribesman  made  no  distinction  be¬ 
tween  the  British  Government  and  the  British  Indian 
.subject  who,  he  argued,  provided  men  and  money  for 
aggression  into  his  land  and  massacre  of  his  kith  and  kin, 
and  was  thus  “  fair  game  ”  to  kill,  plunder  or  secure  as 
a  hostage.  As  an  eastern  proverb  says,  “  when  armies 
fight,  it  is  the  grass  that  is  trampled  under  the  feet." 

More  money  went  in  bribes  and  punitive  expeditions 
for  the  construction  of  every  ten  miles  of  railway  or  road 
than  would  have  sufficed  to  establish  schools,  post  offices, 

*  Protested  Shri  Bhulabhai  Desai,  the  nationalist  leader,  in  the 
■course  of  the  Central  Assembly  debate  in  1935 :  “  The  expedition  is 
just  an  excuse  for  the  maintenance  of  an  army,  without  which  the 
present  expenditure  of  over  forty  million  pounds  sterling  cannot  be 
justified.  Once  you  have  got  an  army,  there  is  always  an  inclination 
—  almost  a  justification  —  for  its  use.  Each  time  we  are  within  our 
borders,  we  must  take  under  our  wing  a  little  beyond  that  border. 
If  we  have  taken  that  part  under  our  wing,  then  we  must  fly  a 
little  further  and  keep  on  doing  that  all  the  time.  In  fact,  it  is 
this  talk  of  Frontier  warfare  which  throughout  the  last  thirty  odd 
years  has  been  the  only  excuse  for  piling  up  armaments  at  the 
expense  of  the  poor  people  of  this  country.” 


FROM  ROADS  TO  RAIDS 


27 


hospitals  and  dispensaries  and  such  amenities,  which 
the  trans-border  people  lacked  and  which  they  would 
gratefully  have  accepted  as  a  friendly  gesture.  From  1882 
to  1891  alone  13  crores  were  expended  on  sending  out 
expeditions.  The  recurring  financial  liabilities  of  the  cen¬ 
tre  on  account  of  its  Frontier  policy  included  : 

(i)  One  crore  and  fifty-four  lakhs  annually  sent 
through  the  External  Affairs  Ministry. 

(ii)  Annual  loss  of  two  crores  registered  by 
strategic  railways. 

(iii)  Maintenance  of  Defence  Works  and  the 
Army  in  and  about  these  parts  estimated  to  cost  about 
10  or  11  crores. 

(iv)  The  cost  of  the  grim  and  almost  annual  mili¬ 
tary  pastime  of  punitive  expeditions  or  major  and 
minor  operations  during  the  forty  years  following  the 
Chitral  War  which  easily  reached  an  average  of  two 
crores  yearly.  According  to  a  statement  made  in  the 
Indian  Central  Assembly  the  total  amount  spent  in 
these  parts  during  the  ninety  years  (1849-1938)  since 
the  British  took  over  from  the  Sikhs  in  the  Punjab 
approached  the  figure  of  400  crores. 

For  over  seventy  years  this  went  on.  The  result  of  in¬ 
dulging  in  these  countless  expeditions,  “  burn  and  scuttle 
affairs  ”  as  Sir  Michael  O’Dwyer  called  them,  was  almost 
nil.  To  quote  Sir  Michael  again,  “  they  subdued  the  tribe 
or  tribesmen  concerned  for  a  time,  but  were  unable  to 
prevent  a  return  to  lawlessness  as  before.”  * 


*  Sir  Michael  O’Dwyer  in  Col.  Bruce’s  Waziristan  — 1936-37. 


CHAPTER  IV 

A  NEW  PORTENT 

In  1919-20  a  new  chapter  opened  in  India’s  his¬ 
tory.  Satyagraha  movement  on  a  national  scale  was 
born.  During  World  War  I,  instead  of  taking  advantage 
of  the  difficulty  of  her  alien  rulers,  India  decided  to  co¬ 
operate  in  the  war,  but  at  the  end  of  it  instead  of  freedom 
she  got  the  Rowlatt  Act  which,  under  the  ostensible  object 
of  putting  down  seditious  crime,  embodied  the  most  arbi¬ 
trary  suppression  of  civil  liberties  that  India  had  ever 
•  known.  It  turned  Gandhiji  who  had  hitherto  prided  him¬ 
self  on  being  the  ‘  loyalist  subject  ’  of  the  British  Empire 
into  a  declared  rebel  and  an  open  enemy  of  British  rule 
in  India.  He  launched  a  countrywide  Satyagraha 'move¬ 
ment  against  it.  The  Government  replied  by  proclaiming 
martial  law  in  the  Punjab  which  culminated  in  General 
Dyer’s  massacre  at  Amritsar.  The  movement  against  the 
Rowlatt  Act  thereafter  merged  and  broadened  into  the  non¬ 
violent  non-co-operation  movement  under  Gandhiji’s  lea¬ 
dership  for  the  redress  of  the  “  triple  wrong  ”  of  the  Punjab 
Martial  Law  atrocities,  violation  of  the  Khilafat  *  and  the 
denial  of  Swaraj,  which  India  claimed  as  her  birthright.  A 
miracle  then  happened.  Hindus  and  Muslims  so  long  kept 
asunder  by  the  ‘  Divide  and  Rule  ’  policy  inherent  in  any 
foreign  Government,  decided  to  bury  the  hatchet  and  for 

*  The  Turkish  Sultan  used  to  be  regarded  by  the  Muslim  world  as 
their  Caliph  or  spiritual  head.  During  World  War  I,  the  British  Pre¬ 
mier,  Lloyd  George,  gave  a  pledge  that  the  integrity  of  Turkey 
would  be  maintained  and  the  sacred  places  of  Islam  would  re¬ 
main  with  the  acknowledged  head  of  the  Muslim  religion.  But  after 
the  war,  the  Turkish  Empire  was  dismembered  and  deprived  of  her 
Arabian  provinces.  This  meant  violation  of  the  Caliphate  or  the 
Khilafat  since  the  Islamic  law  required  that  the  Caliph  must  exercise 
temporal  power  over  the  “  Island  of  Arabia  ”  in  order  to  be  able 
to  protect  the  holy  places  of  Islam.  This  was  regarded  by  the  Indian 
Muslims  as  a  breach  of  faith  and  constituted  the  *  Khilafat  Wrong 

28 


THE  ARTIFICIAL  FRONTIER  OF  INDIA 
Beyond  lies  “  No-man’s  Land 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


29 


the  time  became  one,  to  the  chagrin  and  perturbation  of 
Imperialists,  whose  one  anxiety  thereafter  was  to  set 
them  by  the  ears  so  as  to  make  India  ‘  safe  for  British 
rule  ’  for  all  time  to  come.  Hitherto  it  had  been  their 
policy  to  nurture  the  Frontier  Province  as  a  bulwark 
against  the  Russian  menace.  Now  it  became  their  policy 
to  develop  it  not  from  the  point  of  view  of  all-India  in¬ 
terest,  external  or  internal  but  as  an  autonomous  “  Mus¬ 
lim  majority  Province  ”  to  balance  the  “  Hindu  majority 
Provinces  ”  so  as  to  serve  as  a  bulwark  against  the  rising 
tide  of  Indian  nationalism.  And  to  that  end  the  Chief 
Commissioner  and  all  his  responsible  officers  of  the  Poli¬ 
tical  Service  were  expected  to  subordinate  the  rights  of 
the  inhabitants  of  the  directly  administered  districts  “  to 
keep  the  tribesmen  in  good  temper  ”.f 

The  non-co-operation  movement  swept  over  the 
N.  W.  F.  Province  with  the  rest  of  India  in  the  years  1919- 
22.  It  was  followed  by  a  phase  of  extensive  communal 
tension  and  disturbances  which,  in  certain  cases,  could  be 
shown  to  have  been  deliberately  encouraged,  if  not  ac¬ 
tually  engineered  by  the  authorities  and  their  agents,  the 
local  officials.  The  most  notable  disturbances  in  the 
N.  W.  F.  Province  were  in  Kohat  in  1924  and  in  Dera 
Ismail  Khan  in  1927.  But  in  spite  of  the  virus  of  com- 
munalism  injected  into  the  body  politic  by  the  Govern¬ 
ment’s  policy,  1930  again  witnessed  a  national  mass  move¬ 
ment  in  the  N.  W.  F.  Province.  A  new  portent  then 
appeared  on  the  Indian  horizon  —  the  emergence  of  the 
non-violent  Pathan.  In  the  1930  Salt  Satyagraha,  the 
Frontier  Pathans  in  their  thousands  took  part  in  the  pro¬ 
gramme  of  peaceful  picketing  of  law  courts,  foreign  cloth 
and  liquor  shops.  The  Frontier  authorities,  who  regarded 
the  non-violent  Pathan  as  a  greater  menace  to  their  plans 
than  the  armed  Pathan,  did  not  hesitate  to  resort  to  the 
most  draconian  measures  to  suppress  the  non-violent 
Frontier  movement.  On  the  23rd  of  April,  following  upon 
the  arrest  of  leaders,  there  was  firing  at  Peshawar  on  a 
f  Cited  by  Dewan  Chand  Obhrai  in  The  Evolution  of  North-West 
Frontier  Province. 


30 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


peaceful  crowd  of  Pathans,  including  Hindus  and  Sikhs, 
For  a  full  account  of  the  gruesome  tragedy  that  followed, 
we  may  turn  over  the  pages  of  Shri  V.  J.  Patel’s  Report 
of  Inquiry  into  Peshawar  Firing  (1930),  which  was  ban¬ 
ned  at  that  time  by  the  British  Government.  Here  are  a 
few  extracts  culled  from  a  report  which  was  sent  by  a 
responsible  Muslim  leader  of  the  Punjab  at  that  time  and 
published  in  Young  India  : 

“  A  troop  of  English  soldiers . reached  the  spot  and 

without  any  warning  to  the  crowd  began  firing  into  the  crowd 

in  which  a  nhmber  of  women  and  children  were  present . 

When  those  in  front  fell  down . those  behind  came  forward 

with  their  breasts  bared  and  exposed  themselves  to  the  fire 

some  people  got  as  many  as  21  bullet  wounds . '.and  all  the 

people  stood  their  ground  without  getting  into  a  panic.  A  young 
Sikh  boy  came  and  stood  in  front  of  a  soldier  and  asked  him  to 
fire  at  him,  which  the  soldier  unhesitatingly  did,  killing  him 

. an  old  woman  seeing  her  relatives  and  friends  being 

wounded,  came  forward,  was  shot  down  and  fell  down  wounded. 
An  old  man  with  a  four-year  old  child  on  his  shoulders,  unable 
to  brook  this  brutal  slaughter,  advanced  asking  the  soldier  to 
fire  at  him.  He  was  taken  at  his  word  and  he  also  fell  down 

wounded . people  came  forward  one  after  another  to  face 

the  firing  and  when  they  fell  wounded  they  were  dragged  back 
and  others  came  forward  to  be  shot . ” 

“  A  fairly  senior  military  officer  ”  described  the  “  in¬ 
cident  ”  in  the  columns  of  the  British-edited  Indian  Daily 
Mail  as  follows  : 

“  You  may  take  it  from  me  that  shooting  went  on  for  very 
much  longer  than  has  been  stated  in  the  newspapers.  We 

taught  the  blighters  a  lesson  which  they  won’t  forget..- . Our 

fellows  stood  there  shooting  down  the  agitators  and  leaders  who 
were  pointed  out  to  them  by  the  police.  It  was  not  a  case  of  a 
few  volleys,  it  was  a  case  of  continuous  shooting.” 

It  made  everybody  who  knew  anything  about  the 
Pathans  rub  his  eyes  in  wonder.  Two  platoons  of  war- 
hardened  Garhwalis,  belonging  to  the  Royal  Garhwal 
Rifles,  who  were  ordered  to  fire  upon  the  unresisting 
crowd  were  so  affected  by  what  they  saw  that  they  refused 
to  carry  out  orders,  were  courtmartialled  and  were  sent¬ 
enced  to  terms  of  imprisonment  varying  from  10  to  14 
years.  Their  cases  were  not  covered  by  the  amnesty 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


31 


clause  under  the  Gandhi-Irwin  Pact  and  they  had  to  serve 
out  full  terms  of  their  sentence.  One  of  them  at  the 
expiry  of  his  term  in  1942  came  to  Gandhiji  and  stayed  for 
some  time  as  a  member  of  his  Ashram  at  Sevagram. 

The  man  who  brought  about  this  marvellous  trans¬ 
formation  was  Khan  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan,  popularly 
known  as  Badshah  Khan  in  his  province  who,  in  1929-30, 
with  his  elder  brother  Dr.  Khan  Saheb,  launched  the 
Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement.  “  A  King  among  men  by 
stature  and  dignity  of  bearing  ”  as  Charlie  Andrews  des¬ 
cribed  him,  “  practising  ahimsa  or  non-violence  and  en¬ 
joining  it  upon  his  followers,  and  implicitly  taking  his  in¬ 
structions  from  Mahatma  Gandhi  ”,  the  story  of  his  life 
almost  reads  like  a  legend  or  a  romance.  He  was  born 
in  1890  of  the  rich,  aristocratic  family  of  Khans  of  the 
Mohmadzai  tribe.  His  father,  Khan  Saheb  Behram  Khan, 
was  the  chief  Khan  of  the  village  of  Utmanzai  in  the 
Charsadda  Tahsil  of  the  District  of  Peshawar.  He  studied 
in  the  Edward  Mission  High  School  but  failed  to  matri¬ 
culate  and  stayed  at  home  unlike  his  elder  brother,  Dr. 
Khan  Saheb,  who  proceeded  to  England  for  his  higher 
medical  studies,  and  returned  home  a  full  fledged  mem¬ 
ber  of  the  Indian  Medical  Service  after  serving  in 
France  in  World  War  I.  For  a  while  Badshah 
Khan  nursed  the  ambition  to  serve  in  the  army 
and  distinguish  himself  as  a  soldier  but  was  saved 
from  it  by  Providence  when  he  saw  with  his  own 
eyes  the  disagreeable  spectacle  of  a  friend  of  his  in 
the  army,  whom  he  had  gone  to  visit,  being  grossly 
insulted  by  a  British  officer  of  inferior  rank.  Later  he 
joined  the  Aligarh  Muslim  University  but  was  summoned 
home  after  one  year  by  his  father,  who  wanted  him  to 
proceed  to  England  for  education  as  an  engineer.  Every¬ 
thing  had  been  duly  arranged.  Even  the  passage  by  a 
P.  &  O.  liner  had  been  booked.  But  devotion  to  mother 
proved  stronger  than  the  ambition  to  become  an  engineer. 
“  One  of  my  sons  is  already  away.  What  shall  I  do  if  you 
go  away  as  well  ?  ”  the  mother  sobbed  when  he  went  to 
her  to  bid  goodbye.  The  son’s  heart  melted  and  the  plan 


32 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


of  studying  abroad  went  by  the  board.  In  the  case  of 
Gandhi ji  the  mother’s  love  by  hedging  him  with  the  triple 
vow  of  abstention  from  wine,  women  and  meat  eating,  set 
him  on  the  way  to  life-long  tapasya  (penance).  In  the  case 
of  Badshah  Khan  —  the  Frontier  Gandhi,  as  his  friends 
lovingly  call  him  —  the  mother’s  love  made  him  fling 
away  all  worldly  ambition  once  and  for  all  and  turned 
him  into  a  fakir  —  as  the  masses  in  the  Frontier  endear¬ 
ingly  call  him  —  dedicated  to  self-sacrifice  and  the  service 
of  his  people,  particularly  the  poor.  The  decision  once 
made,  neither  of  them  turned  or  looked  backward. 
Both  marched  breast  forward,  each  to  meet  his  destiny  in 
his  own  characteristic  way. 

In  1911,  in  collaboration  with  the  Haji  Saheb  of  Turang- 
zai,  whose  patriotism  later  led  him  to  go  into  and  end  his 
days  in  voluntary  exile  in  the  Tribal  territory,  Badshah 
Khan  started  a  number  of  national  schools  in  his  province. 
During  those  days  orthodox  Mullahs  were  carrying  on 
agitation  against  schools  run  by  the  Government  but  they 
had  no  alternative  to  suggest.  Badshah  Khan  tried  to 
rescue  the  agitation  from  sterility  by  canalizing  it  into 
constructive  effort.  The  example  of  Rev.  Wigram,  the 
Principal  of  the  Edward  Mission  School  in  which  he  had 
studied,  inspired  him  to  dedicate  himself  to  the  service  of 
his  people. 

From  his  mother,  according  to  him,  he  inherited  his 
devout  and  religious  bent ;  from  his  father,  his  instinctive 
adherence  to  non-violence.  Both  of  them  were  unlettered 
and  both  lived  more  in  the  world  of  the  spirit  than  of  the 
flesh.  “  My  mother  would  often  sit  down  after  her  namaz 

(Muslim  prayer)  to  meditate  in  silence  and  stillness . 

My  father  throughout  his  life  made  many  friends  but  no 

enemies . He  knew  no  revenge  and  he  had  something 

in  him  which  told  him  that  there  was  no  dishonour  in 
being  deceived  ;  it  lay  in  deceiving.  He  was  a  man  of 
his  word  and  he  was  so  transparently  truthful  that  not 
even  his  enemies  dared  to  disbelieve  or  contradict  him.”  * 
His  word  apparently  was  held  to  be  as  good  as  a  bond 


*  Gited  by  Mahadev  Desai  in  Two  Servants  of  God. 


Kanu  Gandhi 

“  Looking  the  embodiment  of  the  traditional  painting  of  Christ.” 

—  Robert  Bernays 

p.  42. 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


33 


by  the  Frontier  folk.  For,  his  son  relates  how  crowds  of 
people  would  come  and  deposit  their  savings  with  him 
without  even  asking  for  a  receipt.  He  never  believed  in 
dancing  attendance  on  those  in  authority  and  yet  the 
biggest  of  British  officials  would  address  him  as  uncle  and 
think  twice  before  they  could  decide  to  displease  him.” 

After  the  Haji  Saheb’s  flight,  Badshah  Khan  made 
an  extensive  tour  of  the  Mohmand  and  Bajaur  territory 
to  see  if  he  could  carry  on  his  mission  by  settling  down  in 
the  midst  of  the  tribes.  He  fasted  and  prayed  and  medi¬ 
tated  for  days  but  saw  no  light  and  in  the  end  returned  to 
his  old  labours  in  the  field  of  popular  education  and  mass 
uplift.  When  the  Rowlatt  Act  agitation  came,  Badshah 
Khan  threw  himself  into  it.  He  was  immediately  arrested. 
On  the  6th  of  April,  1919,  there  was  a  meeting  at  Utman- 
zai  of  over  a  hundred  thousand  people.  Badshah  Khan’s  old 
father  too  attended  the  meeting.  After  Badshah  Khan’s 
arrest,  the  police  chief  came  with  a  jirga  (council  of  the 
elders)  to  the  old  father  and  tried  to  frighten  him  by  tell¬ 
ing  him  that  “  they  will  shoot  the  Badshah  The  upshot 
was  that  they  arrested  him  too.  Taken  before  the  jirga, 
the  son  was  simply  asked  if  he  was  the  Badshah  (King) 
of  the  Pathans.  “  I  said  I  did  not  know,  but  that  I  knew 
that  I  was  a  servant  of  the  community  and  could  not  take 

the  Bills  (Rowlatt  Bills)  lying  down . There  was  no 

kind  of  a  trial . the  jirga  used  all  kinds  of  threats 

and  specious  arguments.  But  I  remained  adamant.” 

So  both  the  father  and  the  son  had  their  baptism  of 
Satyagraha.  “  I  was  taken  to  the  jail  handcuffed  and  I 
had  fetters  on  all  the  time  of  my  imprisonment.  I  was 

twice  my  present  bulk  in  those  days,  weighing  220  lb . 

There  were  no  fetters  to  fit  my  legs . they  were  hard 

put  to  it  to  find  a  pair  and  when  they  did  put  one  on  me, 

the  portion  above  the  ankle  bled  profusely . That  did 

not  worry  the  authorities,  who  said  I  should  not  take  long 
to  get  accustomed  to  them.” 

Khan  Behram  Khan  was  released  after  three  months 
and  even  Badshah  Khan  did  not  have  to  remain  in  prison 
for  more  than  six  months,  as  it  was  the  policy  of  the  then 

P-3 


34 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Chief  Commissioner,  Sir  George  Roos  Keppel  to  ‘  placate 
the  Pathans  ’.* 

The  elder  brother,  Dr.  Khan  Saheb,  in  the  meantime, 
after  taking  his  degree  of  M.R.C.S.  (London)  from  St. 
Thomas’  Hospital,  had  gone  to  the  front  in  France  in  utter 
ignorance  of  what  was  happening  to  his  younger  brother 
and  father —  not  a  letter  from  India  was  permitted  to 
reach  him.  On  his  return  to  India  in  1920  he  resigned 
his  Commission.  Badshah  Khan  attended  the  Congress 
Session  at  Nagpur  in  1920  and  took  a  leading  part  in  the 
Khilafat  movement.  He  led  a  numerous  party  of  muha- 
jreen  (pilgrim  exiles)  who  performed  an  exodus  as  a  pro¬ 
test  against  the  Khilafat  wrong  and  suffered  untold  hard¬ 
ships  in  their  march  to  and  from  Kabul.  The  old  Behram 
Khan,  nearly  ninety,  was  with  difficulty  dissuaded  from 
joining.  In  1921,  Badshah  Khan  was  again  imprisoned  by 
the  British  authorities  for  no  other  crime  than  establishing 
national  schools.  Even  from  the  contiguous  areas  of 
Malakand,  Bajaur  and  Swat  the  tribesmen  were  sending 
their  children  to  these  azad  schools  as  they  were 
called,  and  the  authorities  saw  red.  “  Why  should  your 
son  take  it  upon  himself  to  establish  this  school,  when  no 
one  else  is  interested  in  it  ?  ”  the  Chief  Commissioner,  Sir 
John  Maffey,  suggested  to  his  father.  The  father  spoke 
to  the  son.  “  Father,”  replied  the  son,  “  supposing  all  the 
other  people  ceased  to  take  interest  in  the  namaz,  would 
you  ask  me  also  to  give  it  up  and  forsake  my  duty  or 
would  you  ask  me  to  go  on  with  the  religious  duty  in  scorn 
of  consequences  ?  ” 

“  Certainly  not,”  said  the  father.  “  I  would  never 
have  you  give  up  your  religious  duties,  no  matter  what 
others  may  do.” 

'  “Well,  then,  father,  this  work  of  national  education 
is  like  that.  If  I  may  give  up  my  namaz,  I  may  give  up 
the  school.” 

“  I  see,”  said  the  father,  “  and  you  are  right.” 

This  time  he  was  sentenced  to  three  years’  rigorous 


*  Discussed  in  detail  in  chapter  III. 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


35 


imprisonment  and  was  subjected  to  all  the  hardships  of  jail 
life  ;  solitary  cell,  fetters  for  months,  grinding  for  prison 
task,  etc.  He  lost  55  lb.  in  weight  and  suffered  from 
scurvy  and  lumbago  and  what  not,  as  a  result  of  the 
rigours  to  which  he  was  subjected.  He  behaved 
as  a  model  prisoner  and  conscientiously  observed  jail  dis¬ 
cipline,  cheerfully  putting  up  with  all  privations  and  hard¬ 
ships  of  jail  life,  never  asking  for  favours  or  compromising 
on  principles.  Even  some  of  the  jail  officials  were  moved 
by  the  sufferings  of  their  high-principled,  illustrious  pri¬ 
soner  and  tried  to  relax  the  rigours  which  were  to  be 
imposed  upon  him  under  the  rules.  He  implored  them 
to  let  him  be.  He  started  a  crusade  against  the  corruption 
in  jail.  One  constable,  under  his  influence,  tendered  his 
resignation  because  he  could  not  make  both  ends  meet 
without  indulging  in  corrupt  practices.  The  jail  authori¬ 
ties  took  alarm  and  transferred  Badshah  Khan  to  another 
prison,  this  time  in  Gujarat  in  the  Punjab,  where  his  un¬ 
compromising  honesty  and  rigorous  observance  of  jail 
discipline  became  a  source  of  embarrassment  to  his  more 
easy-going  fellow  prisoners.  But  he  stood  firm  as  a  rock. 
For,  he  held  with  that  other  illustrious  jail-bird,  Tom 
Clark,  that  “  once  you  compromise  on  principle,  you  not 
only  compromise  truth,  but  you  compromise  your  self- 
respect  ”,  which  is  the  most  valuable  asset  in  the  prison 
life  of  a  civil  resister. 

The  transfer  to  Gujarat  prison  brought  him  into  con¬ 
tact  with  a  wider  circle  and  enabled  him  to  make  a  study 
of  the  scriptures  of  other  religions,  especially  the  Bhaga- 
wadgita  and  the  Sikh  scriptures.  In  order  to  understand 
one  another  better,  he  suggested  in  consultation  with  his 
Hindu  fellow  civil  resister  prisoners,  that  there  should  be 
Gita  and  Quran  classes.  The  classes  went  on  for  some 
time  but  ultimately  had  to  be  discontinued  “  for  want  of 
any  other  pupil  but  myself  in  the  Gita  class  and  for  want 
of  more  than  one  pupil  in  the  Quran  class  ”.* 

Unlike  his  elder  brother  Dr.  Khan  Saheb,  who  often 
used  to  say  in  jest,  “  My  brother  offers  the  namaz  on  my 

*  Cited  by  Mahadev  Desai  in  Two  Servants  of  Gocl. 


36 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


behalf  also,”  Badshah  Khan  never  missed  a  single  namaz 
(prayer)  or  roza  (fast).  With  that  he  combined  a  rare 
catholicity  of  outlook.  “I  do  not  measure  the  strength 
of  a  religion  by  counting  heads,”  he  once  told  the  late 
Mahadev  Desai,  “  for,  what  is  faith  until  it  is  expressed 
in  one’s  life  ?  It  is  my  inmost  conviction  that  Islam  is 
amal,  yakeen,  muhabbat  (work,  faith  and  love)  and  with¬ 
out  these  the  name  Mussulman  is  sounding  brass  and 
tinkling  cymbal.  The  Quran  Shareef  makes  it  absolutely 
clear  that  faith  in  One  God  without  a  second  and  good 
works  are  enough  to  secure  a  man  his  salvation.” 

“  I  think,  at  the  back  of  our  quarrels  is  the  failure  to 
recognize  that  all  faiths  contain  enough  inspiration  for 
their  adherents,”  he  remarked  on  another  occasion.  “  The 
Holy  Quran  says  in  so  many  words  that  God  sends  mes¬ 
sengers  and  warners  for  all  nations  and  all  peoples  and 
they  are  their  respective  prophets.  All  of  them  are 
Ahl-i-kitab  (Men  of  the  Book) . I  would  even  go  fur¬ 

ther  and  say  that  the  fundamental  principles  of  all  reli¬ 
gions  are  the  same,  though  details  differ  because  each 
faith  takes  the  flavour  of  the  soil  from  which  it  springs.” 

The  period  between  1924-29  was  a  hard  testing  time 
in  the  struggle  for  independence.  Communal  passions 
mounted  high  and  many  lost  their  moorings.  But  the 
Khan  brothers  kept  their  heads  above  the  storm  and  never 
wavered.  Badshah  Khan  ceaselessly  toiled  and  undertook 
long  and  arduous  tours  on  foot  to  carry  to  the  tribesmen 
in  their  villages  and  mountain  fastnesses  the  message  of 
truth  and  non-violence  and  the  new  technique  of  fight 
without  weapons  which  Gandhiji  had  presented.  When 
the  1930  struggle  came,  he  with  his  brother  was  again 
in  the  thick  of  the  fight.  Yet,  strangely  enough,  they  had 
never  met  Gandhiji  all  this  time.  It  was  only  at  the 
Karachi  session  of  the  Congress  in  1931  that  he  and  his 
Khudai  Khidmatgars,  whose  fame  had  travelled  before 
them,  first  came  into  contact  with  Gandhiji  and  fellow 
workers  in  the  cause  in  other  parts  of  India. 

The  Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement  was  primarily 
conceived  as  a  movement  for  social  reform  and 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


37 


economic  uplift.  It  aimed  at  teaching  the  Pathans  in¬ 
dustry,  economy  and  self-reliance  by  educating  them 
and  inculcating  upon  them  self-respect  and  the  fear 
of  God  which  ‘  banishes  all  fear  It  was  only  in 
1929  that  Badshah  Khan  decided  to  convert  his 
small  body  of  volunteer  workers  into  a  full-fledged 
political  organization  to  carry  out  the  whole  of  the  Con¬ 
gress  programme.  The  ideal  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars, 
as  their  name  implies,  was  to  become  true  servants  of 
God  —  in  other  words,  to  serve  God  through  service  of 
humanity.  They  were  regularly  drilled  and  taught  to  take 
long  marches  in  military  fashion.  But  they  bore  no  arms, 
carried  no  weapons,  not  even  a  lathi  or  a  stick.  They 
took  the  pledge  to  be  loyal  to  God,  the  community  and 
the  motherland.  They  were  all  pledged  to  non-violence 
in  thought,  word  and  deed  and  to  service  of  their  fellow 
beings  without  expectation  of  any  remuneration  or  re¬ 
ward  for  themselves.  They  bound  themselves  to  observe 
purity  in  personal  life  and  abjured  communalism.  They 
adopted  red  shirts  as  their  uniform,  since  white  khadi  shirts 
were  too  readily  soiled  and  brick-red  colour  was  com¬ 
monly  available  in  and  round  about  Peshawar  District. 
Up  till  April,  1930,  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  did  not  num¬ 
ber  more  than  500.  In  1938  their  figure  stood  at  over  one 
lakh. 

Released  on  the  conclusion  of  the  Gandhi-Irwin  Pact 
in  January,  1931,  the  Khan  brothers  were  not  allowed  to 
enjoy  their’ liberty  for  long.  The  British  officials  regarded 
the  Pact  as  a  personal  defeat  *  and  set  about  to  “retrieve  ” 

*  It  is  characteristic  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  that  they  nevei 
claimed  the  Gandhi-Irwin  truce  as  a  victory  for  themselves.  Dr. 
Khan  Saheb  once  related  to  the  late  Shri  Mahadev  Desai  how  during 
one  of  his  visits  to  Peshawar  with  his  ‘  Guides  ’  during  the  truce, 
Col.  Sandeman,  the  son  of  Col.  Sir  Robert  Sandeman  of  Quetta  fame, 
scarcely  disguised  the  feeling  of  unhappiness  over  the  truce  which 
he  shared  with  the  British  officials.  Dr.  Khan  Saheb,  a  born  spoils¬ 
man  who  never  forgot  the  tradition  of  the  cricket  team  he 
led  in  college,  soothed  him,  “  No,  Col.  Sandeman,  dismiss 
the  thought  of  your  having  been  defeated  entirely  out  of  your  mind. 
Political  life  is  a  game  in  which  the  victor  and  the  vanquished  must 


33 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


it.  Breaches  of  the  agreement  were  numerous  and  the 
Khudai  Khidmatgars  were  given  no  peace.  On  the  23rd 
of  December  the  Khan  brothers  were  invited  by  the  Chief 
Commissioner  to  a  Darbar.  They  declined  the  invitation 
as  a  protest  against  continuance  of  repression  on  the  rank 
and  file  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars.  On  the  night  of  the 
24th  of  December,  with  almost  all  the  important  members 
of  the  family  they  were  arrested  under  an  Ordinance  and 
sent  out  of  the  Frontier  Province  for  detention  for  an 
indefinite  period,  just  on  the  eve  of  Gandhiji’s  return  from 
the  Second  Round  Table  Conference. 

During  the  two  Civil  Disobedience  struggles  between 
1930-33,  there  was  a  virtual  Black-and-Tan  regime  im¬ 
posed  upon  the  Frontier  Province.  Standing  crops  of 
civil  resisters  were  burnt,  stocks  of  grain  ruined  by  pour¬ 
ing  kerosene  oil  into  them  and  houses  set  fire  to.  There 
were  martial  law,  shootings  and  lathi  f  charges  and  indig¬ 
nities  and  brutalities  that  will  not  bear  telling.  As  an 
American  tourist  observed,  “  Gunning  the  Red  Shirts  was 
a  popular  sport  and  pastime  of  the  British  forces  in  the 
province.”  They  were  stripped  naked,  made  to  run 
through  cordons  of  British  soldiers  who  kicked  them  and 
jabbed  them  with  rifle  ends  and  bayonets  as  they  ran. 
They  were  thrown  out  from  the  roofs  of  houses,  ducked 
in  dirty  ponds  and  subjected  to  indecent  tortures  which, 
in  some  cases,  left  them  maimed  for  life. 

The  Pathans  are  a  proud,  sensitive  race  who  prefer 
death  to  dishonour.  One  of  the  Khan  brothers’  cousins, 
Haji  Shah  Nawaz  Khan,  compelled  by  domestic  circum¬ 
stances  to  pay  security  to  secure  release,  was  so  overcome 
by  remorse  that  he  quietly  killed  himself  as  an  expiation 
for  his  weakness.  His  friends  and  relatives  in  vain  argued 


shake  hands  with  one  another  as  much  as  in  a  game  of  football  or 
cricket.  And  here,  in  this  instance,  there  is  no  question  of  victory. 
We  |have  just  had  a  draw  in  which  there  is  no  victor  and  no  vanquish¬ 
ed.”  When  they  parted  from  each  other,  the  soldier  said,  “  Well, 
well,  we  have  known  each  other  so  well  that  I  hope  and  pray  the 
‘  Guides  ’  may  not  have  to  be  guilty  of  anything  bad  in  Charsadda.” 
t  Long  bamboo  sticks  sometimes  heavily  shod  with  iron. 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


39 


with  him  that  he  could  go  back  to  prison  by  doing  some 
act  in  breach  of  security.  He  simply  left  a  note  behind 
saying  that  the  disgrace  he  had  brought  upon  the  family 
could  be  expiated  only  by  his  death. 

Another  prominent  worker,  Syed  Abdul  Wadud  Bad- 
shah,  a  great  religious  head  and  zamindar  from  the  Mala- 
kand  Tribal  Agency,  had  been  in  prison  for  three  years. 
His  decrepit  old  father,  being  very  near  death’s  door,  paid 
the  security  so  that  he  might  see  his  son  before  he  passed 
away.  The  son,  on  coming  out,  shot  himself  dead,  unable 
to  bear  the  shame  of  it. 

Everybody  knows  how  highly  excitable  *  the  Pathans 
are.  Yet,  throughout  this  period,  not  a  single  case  of  ac¬ 
tual  violence  was  adduced  against  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars.  Some  of  them  committed  suicide  when  their  non¬ 
violence  was  strained  to  the  breaking  point. 

In  1934  the  Khan  brothers  were  again  released,  but 
an  order  was  passed  banning  their  entry  into  the  Frontier 
Province  and  the  Punjab.  Badshah  Khan  came  and  stay 
ed  with  Gandhiji  at  Wardha.  He  sent  for  his  daughter 
who  was  in  England  for  education  and  .  put  her 
in  Mahila  Ashram  (a  women’s  educational  institution)  at 
Wardha  under  the  care  of  Mirabehn  (Miss  Slade),  Admiral 
Slade’s  daughter,  who  had  taken  to  Gandhiji’s  way  of  life 
and  become  his  close  and  devoted  associate.  This  was  in 
the  last  week  of  November.  On  the  7th  of  December, 
Badshah  Khan  was  again  arrested  under  a  warrant  from 
the  Bombay  Government  in  connection  with  a  speech 
which  he  had  delivered  on  the  invitation  of  the  Associa¬ 
tion  of  Young  Christians  at  Bombay  and  sentenced  to 
three  years’  rigorous  imprisonment. 

*  Fielding  King  Hall  narrates  the  following  as  an  instance  of 
the  proverbial  inflammability  of  the  Pathan  in  his  Thirty  Days  of 

India :  ....... 

«  one  Pathan  was  sitting  on  the  ground  listening  in  intently 

to  a  radio  broadcasting  programme  whilst  his  neighbour  conti¬ 
nued  to  chatter.  The  first  man  told  the  talker  to  shut  up,  but 
the  latter  observed  that  he  had  as  much  right  to  speak  as  “  that 
loud  mouth  over  there”.  The  radio  fan  promptly  switched  off 
th_*  human  “  loud  speaker  ”  by  sticking  a  knife  into  his  ribs.” 


40  A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 

On  his  release  in  1936,  he  again  came  to  Gandhiji  and 
stayed  this  time  as  the  guest  of  Seth  Jamnalal  Bajaj  at 
Wardha,  though  he  passed  most  of  his  time  with  Gandhiji 
in  his  Sevagram  Ashram,  which  continued  to  be  his  home 
till  the  turn  of  the  wheel  enabled  him  to  go  back  to  his 
province.  It  was  a  great  and  valuable  opportunity  for 
both,  for  it  enabled  them  to  know  each  other  most  inti¬ 
mately,  and  there  grew  up  between  them  a  bond  which 
continued  to  grow  closer  and  closer. 

Memory  fondly  lingers  over  the  many  heart  to  heart 
talks  which  they  had  during  their  stay  together,  their  un¬ 
equalled  love  and  regard  for  each  other  and  the  sharing 
of  their  respective  inner  experiences.  To  Gandhiji,  with 
his  passion  for  communal  unity,  Badshah  Khan  symbo¬ 
lized  the  entire  Muslim  community.  And  where  else  could 
you  find  a  truer  Muslim,  more  devout,  more  deeply  reli¬ 
gious,  more  transparently  sincere  or  more  tolerant  than 
Badshah  Khan  ?  On  Badshah  Khan’s  part,  it  was  not 
name  or  fame  or  even  Gandhiji’s  political  work  which 
drew  him  to  the  latter.  The  secret  of  his  devotion  to  and 
unquestioning  faith  in  Gandhiji  was  that  he  found  in 
Gandhiji  a  kindred  spirit,  a  man  of  faith  and  prayer,  dedi¬ 
cated  to  a  pure,  ascetic  life,  who  waited  upon  God  and 
sought  to  do  His  will  even  in  the  littlest  of  little  acts  of 
his  life. 

“  There  is  nothing  surprising  in  a  Mussulman  or  a 
Pathan  like  me  subscribing  to  the  creed  of  non-violence,” 
he  once  remarked.  “  It  is  not  a  new  creed.  It  was  follow¬ 
ed  1,400  years  ago  by  the  Prophet  all  the  time  He  was 
in  Mecca  and  it  has  since  been  followed  by  all  those  who 
wanted  to  throw  off. an  oppressor’s  yoke.  But  we  had  so 
far  forgotten  it  that  when  Mahatmaji  placed  it  before  us 

we  thought  he  was  sponsoring  a  novel  creed . To  him 

belongs  the  credit  of  being  the  first  among  us  to  revive  a 
forgotten  creed  and  to  place  it  before  a  nation  for  the  re¬ 
dress  of  its  grievances.” 

“  Whenever  a  question  of  great  pith  and  moment 
arises  in  Gandhiji’s  life  and  Gandhiji  takes  an  important 
decision,”  remarked  Badshah  Khan  on  one  occasion,  “  I 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


41 


instinctively  say  to  myself,  ‘  This  is  the  decision  of  one 
who  has  surrendered  himself  to  God,  and  God  never 
guideth  ill.’  ” 

And  again,  “  I  have  never  found  it  easy  to  question  his 
decisions,  for  he  refers  all  his  problems  to  God  and  always 
listens  to  His  commands.  After  all  I  have  but  one  standard 
of  measure  and  that  is  the  measure  of  one’s  surrender 
to  God.” 

In  1937  the  Congress  decided  to  accept  office  in  the 
Provinces  under  the  Government  of  India  Act  of  1935, 
supplemented  by  certain  assurances  of  the  Viceroy. 
The  Khan  brothers  were  precluded  from  taking  part  in 
the  elections  as  the  externment  order  banning  their  entry 
into  the  Frontier  Province  still  stood,  and  even  Pandit 
Jawaharlal  Nehru  was  not  allowed  to  enter  the  Frontier 
Province  to  conduct  the  election  campaign,  while  leaders 
of  the  Muslim  League  from  India  were  allowed  all  facili¬ 
ties.  The  officials  openly  worked  against  the  Khan  bro¬ 
thers  and  the  Congress.  In  spite  of  it  Dr.  Khan  Saheb 
secured  a  thumping  majority  and  was  declared  elected  in 
absentia.  In  September,  1937,  a  Congress  Ministry  was 
formed  in  the  Frontier  Province  under  his  Premiership, 
and  the  outlaws  of  yesterday  became  the  party  in  power 
in  their  land  of  birth. 

But  Badshah  Khan,  the  Fakir  (the  recluse),  did  not 
stand  for  election,  nor  did  he  join  his  brother’s  Ministry, 
but  chose  instead  to  tread  the  hard  and  stony  path  of 
service.  He  had  become  convinced  that  nothing  but  non¬ 
violence,  as  inculcated  by  Gandhiji,  could  elevate  his  peo¬ 
ple  and  raise  them  to  their  full  moral  stature.  How  deep 
was  his  passion  for  service  and  his  faith  in  non-violence 
will  be  seen  from  the  following  statement  of  his  recorded 
in  Young  India  : 

“  My  npn-violence  has  become  almost  a  matter  of  faith  with 
me.  I  believed  in  Mahatma  Gandhi’s  ahimsa  before.  But  the 
unparallelled  success  of  the  experiment  in  my  province  has  made 
me  a  confirmed  champion  of  non-violence.  God  willing,  I  hope 
never  to  see  my  province  take  to  violence.  We  know  only  too 
well  the  bitter  results  of  violence  from  the  blood-feuds  which 
spoil  our  fair  name.  We  have  an  abundance  of  violence  in  our 


42 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


nature.  It  is  good  in  our  interests  to  take  training  in 
non-violence.  Moreover,  is  not  the  Pathan  amenable  to  love 
and  reason  ?  He  will  go  with  you  to  hell  if  you  can  win  his 
heart,  but  you  cannot  force  him  even  to  go  to  heaven  !  Such 
is  the  power  of  love  over  the  Pathan.  I  want  the  Pathan  to 
do  unto  others  as  he  would  like  to  be  done  by.  It  may  be,  I  may 
fail  and  a  wave  of  violence  may  sweep  over  my  province.  I  shall 
then  be  content  to  take  the  verdict  of  fate  against  me.  But  it 
will  not  shake  my  ultimate  faith  in  non-violence  which  my  peo¬ 
ple  need  more  than  anybody  else.” 

For  over  a  decade  and  a  half  Badshah  Khan  had 
fought  against  the  British  but  at  the  end  of  it  he  harbour¬ 
ed  no  ill-will  or  bitterness  in  his  heart.  “  The  British  have 
put  me  in  prison,  but  I  do  not  hate  them,”  he  told  Robert 
Bernays  who  interviewed  him  during  the  Truce  in  1931. 
“  My  movement  is  social  as  well  as  political.  I  teach 
the  ‘  Red  Shirts  ’  to  love  their  neighbours  and  speak  the 
truth.  Muslims  are  a  warlike  race  ;  they  do  not  take 
easily  to  the  gospel  of  non-violence.  I  am  doing  my  best 
to  teach  it  to  them.”  * 

That  night  the  author  of  The  Naked  Fakir  recorded 
his  impression  of  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan  in  his  diary  as  fol¬ 
lows  : 

“  Looking  the  embodiment  of  the  traditional  painting  of 
Christ  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan  is  a  kindly,  gentle  and  rather  lovable 
man.  As  well  think  that  old  George  Lansbury  is  a  dangerous 
revolutionary . ” 

In  the  following  year  (1938),  Badshah  Khan  invited 
Gandhiji  to  make  a  tour  of  his  province  to  study  and  guide 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement.  The  inauguration  of 
the  Congress  Ministry  had  created  an  anomalous  situation 
in  the  Frontier  Province.  The  British  authorities,  espe¬ 
cially  the  Political  Department  in  the  N.  W.  F.  Province, 
had  not  taken  kindly  to  the  coming  of  the  Congress  into 
power.  They  now  used  the  tribesmen  as  an  invisible  lever 
against  the  Congress  Ministry.  In  this  they  were  aided 
by  the  dual  system  of  administration  which  obtained  in 
the  Frontier  Province.  For  instance,  whilst  the  Governor 
in  his  capacity  as  the  head  of  the  Provincial  Government 
was,  under  the  constitution,  required  to  act  on  the  advice 


*  Robert  Bernays  :  The  Naked  Fakir. 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


43 


of  his  Ministers,  in  the  matter  of  the  tribal  areas,  he  was 
responsible  only  to  and  had  direct  dealings  with  the  Viceroy 
as  King’s  representative.  Again,  under  the  doctrine  of  the 
‘  inseparability  of  the  Districts  and  the  tribal  territory  \ 
whilst  the  higher  civilian  officers,  in  regard  to  their 
functions  as  District  Magistrates,  were  under  the  Ministry, 
the  same  officers  as  administrators  of  the  tribal  territory 
were  answerable  directly  to  the  Political  Department  and 
could  and  did  actually  do  things  over  the  heads  and  even 
without  the  sanction  and  knowledge  of  the  legislature  or 
the  Ministry.  The  language  of  the  official  Administrative 
Reports  in  the  period  from  1919-20  to  1936-37  gives  one 
the  impression  that  the  authorities  almost  regarded  com¬ 
munal  feeling  as  a  specific  against  “  political  distemper  ”. 
Take  for  instance,  the  following  from  the  1931-32  report 
in  regard  to  the  N.  W.  F.  Province  : 

“  During  the  early  days  of  September,  there  was  a 
lull  in  the  political  activities  of  the  Province,  perhaps 
largely  due  to  the  absence  from  their  headquarters  of 
Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan  who,  after  a  visit  to  Simla  to  meet 
Mr.  Gandhi  and  a  short  stay  in  the  Punjab,  proceeded 
direct  to  Dera  Ismail  Khan,  where  he  spent  a  week  in  an 
unsuccessful  attempt  to  effect  a  reconciliation  between  the 
Hindu  and  Mohammedan  communities.” 

And  further  : 

“  At  this  time,  the  'political  situation  in  the  District 
was  much  easier .”  (Italics  mine.) 

Deterioration  of  relations  between  the  Ministry  in 
power  and  the  Political  Department  and  the  Army  was 
reflected  in  slackness  and  indiscipline  in  the  services  and 
an  increase  in  lawlessness.  In  the  third  quarter  of  1946, 
Pandit  Nehru,  as  the  Vice-President  of  the  Interim  Gov¬ 
ernment  that  had  been  set  up  at  the  Centre  in  terms 
of  the  15th  of  May  announcement  of  the  British  Cabinet 
Delegation,  visited  the  N.  W.  F.  Province.  His  visit  was 
an  occasion  for  a  right  royal  welcome  by  the  Khudai  Khid- 
matgars  lining  at  regular  intervals  both  sides  of  the  road 


44 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


on  a  route  more  than  ten  miles  long.  But  in  the 
Malakand  Agency  his  car  was  ambushed  by  some 
tribesmen.  The  officials  were  suspected  to  have  a  hand  in 
the  affair,  and  action  had  to  be  taken  against  the  politicaL 
officer  concerned  for  dereliction  of  duty. 

Characteristic  of  this  new  challenge  were  the  Bannu 
raid  and  the  Dera  Ismail  Khan  riots. f  What  was  the  popu- 
lar  Congress  Ministry  to  do  ?  Force  had  been  tried 
by  the  British  and  had  failed.  The  British  Government  had 
even  tried  aerial  bombing  of  the  tribes.  It  shocked  the 
civilized  conscience  of  mankind  but  could  not  re¬ 
duce  the  tribesmen  to  submission.* *  The  experiment  of 
Sir  Robert  Sandeman  of  Quetta  fame,  of  “  peaceful 
penetration  ”  and  “  control  from  within  ”  by  “  supportings 
the  tribal  headman  ”  and  “  conferring  moral  and  material 


1  t  See  chapters  x  and  xii. 

*  At  the  1933  Air  Disarmament  Conference  at  Geneva  Sir  Anthony 
Eden  put  forward,  on  behalf  of  Great  Britain,  a  plea  to  exempt  from 
the  ban  “  air  bombing  for  police  purposes  in  certain  outlying  dis¬ 
tricts.”  His  argument  was  that  the  only  alternative  would  be  the 
use  of  land  troops,  involving  casualties  perhaps  of  a  heavy  nature. 
“  The  sending  of  expeditionary  forces  involved  loss  of  life  and 
health  ”,  whereas  in  air  bombing  “  usually  a  warning  sufficed,  and 
it  was  possible,  perhaps,  to  avoid  casualties  altogether.”  The  motion 
was  opposed  by  Mr.  Wilson,  U.S.A.,  who  insisted  that  the  abolition 
of  bombardment  from  the  air  should  be  “  absolute,  unqualified  and 
universal.” 

Lieut.-General  MacMunn  in  his  book  on  the  Frontier,  pp.  273-274, 
describing  the  comparative  ineffectiveness  of  air  bombing,  writes : 
“  One  of  the  disappointments  of  modern  times  is  the  uselessness  of 
the  Air  Force  in  handling  the  problem.  It  was  hoped  that  a  solution 
might  have  been  found.'  But  it  was  soon  realized  that  bombing  has 

no  material  effect  against  tribal  skirmishers  and  sharp-shooters . 

Even  punitive  bombing  has  been  realized  as  of  little  avail.  To  bomb 
unwarned  means  destruction  of  families.  To  bomb  after  warning  is 
absurd.” 

As  regards  the  defence  that  no  casualties  of  the  tribesmen  were 
involved  because  previous  warning  was  given,  here  is  what  Charlie 
Andrews,  that  God-fearing  Englishman,  says :  “  The  first  warning' 

they  get  is  the  first  bomb  which  is  dropped  on  them  by  aeroplanes.”- 
—  The  Challenge  of  the  North-West  Frontier ,  p.  94. 


A  NEW  PORTENT 


45 


benefits  ”  (The  Sandeman  System)  could  possibly  be  held 
out  as  an  example  of  what  could  be  achieved  by  way  of 
‘  gradual  civilization  and  betterment  of  tribes  It,  how¬ 
ever,  carried  with  it  its  own  seeds  of  evil.  Apart  from  the 
fact  that  it  sought  to  stabilize  an  effete  feudal  system,  it 
was  not  in  essence  different  from  the  imperialist  system 
of  grab  of  which  it  was  really  an  adjunct.  Did  it  not 
enable  the  British  gradually,  almost  imperceptibly  to 
absorb  the  whole  strip  of  territory  which  constitutes  the 
present  Province  of  Baluchistan  and  open  up  the  Gomal 
Pass,  “  although  the  politicals  in  the  Punjab  had  been  sit¬ 
ting  before  those  mountain  ranges  in  Waziristan  for 
years  ?  ”  f  Every  writer  on  the  Frontier  from  Davies 
downward  has  noted  the  democratic  character  of  the 
Pathan  tribesmen  and  their  intense  passion  for  freedom. 
Is  it  any  wonder  that  they  regarded  the  Sandeman  system 
as  a  menace  to  their  much  treasured  freedom  ? 

Of  a  different  order  was  the  venture  of  Dr.  Pennell  of 
the  Bannu  Mission,  who  settled  down  among  the  Pathan 
folk  to  evangelize  them  by  loving,  selfless  service.  He 
lived  among  them,  adopted  their  dress,  spoke  their  lang¬ 
uage  fluently  and  ultimately  laid  down  his  life  serving 
them.  He  always  went  unarmed  among  the  most  turbu¬ 
lent  Pathan  folk  and  when  once  a  new  commandant  in¬ 
sisted  that  he  should  take  an  escort,  he  answered  that 
that  would  be  the  surest  way  of  getting  ambushed  and 
shot.  It  was  said  of  him  that  to  have  Pennell  was  worth 
“  a  couple  of  regiments  Such  was  the  power  this  man 
of  peace  had  come  to  wield. 

But  Dr.  Pennell's  was  an  individual  venture,  not  free 
from  a  suspicion  of  a  proselytizing  motive.  It  still  left 
unanswered  the  question  of  questions,  so  admirably  pro¬ 
pounded  by  that  saintly  Englishman,  Charlie  Andrews  : 

“  Is  there  a  place  for  moral  resistance  in  face  of  the  violent 
measures  that  are  destroying  civilization  today  ?  Would  it  have 
been  possible  in  Korea,  Manchukuo  or  North  China  for  the 
Chinese  to  have  resisted  in  this  manner  Japanese  domination  ? 

i  Sir  Michael  O’Dwyer  in  his  foreword  to  Col.  Bruce’s  Waziristan 
— 1936-37. 


46 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Could  it  have  had  a  place  in  counteracting  Italian  aggression  ? 
Could  it  be  employed  in  Spain  ?  How  is  the  conscience  of  the 
world  to  be  roused  against  the  aggressor  in  such  a  way  that 
mere  physical  success  becomes  turned  into  a  moral  defeat  ?  ,  Is 
there  a  moral  world  sanction  that  does  not  depend  for  its  effect¬ 
iveness  upon  the  use  of  physical  force  ?  Would  it  be  possible  to 
use  such  a  moral  sanction,  to  put  a  last  question,  to  pacify  the 
tribesmen  on  the  North-West  Frontier  of  India  ?  ” 

Badshah  Khan  and  his  Khudai  Khidmatgar  move¬ 
ment  had  partly  furnished  the  answer,  Gandhi ji  now  set 
out  to  see  whether  the  question  mark  could  not  altogether 
be  removed. 


CHAPTER  V 

THE  SHADOW  OF  MUNICH 

After  prolonged  consultations  with  Khan  Saheb  Abdul 
Ghaffar  Khan  (endearingly  called  Badshah  Khan  by  the 
Frontier  people),  his  prospective  host,  Gandhi ji  set  out 
from  Sevagram  towards  the  close  of  September,  1938,  on 
a  one  month’s  tour  among  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  in 
the  North-West  Frontier  Province.  It  was  in  fulfilment 
of  a  promise  he  had  given  to  Badshah  Khan.  His  health 
had  been  none  too  good  and  it  was  with  no  small  trepida¬ 
tion  and  anxiety  on  the  part  of  friends  that  he  decided 
to  halt  at  Delhi  on  the  way  and  face  the  strain  of  the 
Working  Committee  and  a  couple  of  other  meetings  that 
had  been  arranged  to  be  held  there  in  anticipation  of  his 
visit.  The  Working  Committee  met  under  the  shadow  of 
the  war  cloud  that  threatened  to  burst  over  Europe  and 
decided  to  go  into  a  perpetual  sitting  till  the  crisis  was 
over.  Its  members  met  and  discussed  and  talked  over  this 
question  of  questions  “  loud  and  long  ”.  But  before  they 
could  arrive  at  any  final  conclusion  the  crisis  for  the  time 
being  was  resolved  by  the  signing  of  the  Munich  Pact,  and 
the  entire  picture  changed  with  kaleidscopic  quickness. 
There  were  Congressmen  who  felt  that  India  ought  to 
make  England’s  adversity  its  opportunity  to  strike  the 
most  favourable  bargain  with  that  country  to  gain  control 
of  political  power  which  was  her  due.  But  to  Gandhiji 
the  occasion  represented  the  hour  of  his  trial  and  of  India’s 
trial.  What  would  it  profit  her  if  she  gained  complete  con¬ 
trol  of  power  but  lost  her  soul  into  the  bargain  ?  For  near¬ 
ly  a  quarter  of  a  century  he  had  endeavoured  to  inculcate 
the  way  of  non-violence  upon  the  country.  His  life’s  work 
was  at  stake.  What  account  would  the  Congress  give  of 
itself  in  this  hour  ?  Would  it  have  the  strength  and  the 
courage  to  live  up  to  its  creed  of  unqualified  non-violence 
in  the  face  of  a  possible  European  conflagration  ?  “  If  the 

47 


48 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Congress  could  put  the  whole  of  its  creed  of  non-violence 
into  practice  on  this  occasion,”  he  remarked  to  a  friend, 
“  India’s  name  would  become  immortal.  She  would  make 
history.  But  I  know,  today,  it  is  only  a  dream  of  mine.” 
“  Should  India  take  to  the  sword,  she  would  cease  to  be 
the  India  of  my  dreams  and  I  should  like  to  betake  me  to 
the  Himalayas  to  seek  rest  for  my  anguished  soul,”  he 
had  written  on  a  memorable  occasion.  “You  may  rest 
assured,”  he  told  some  friends  who  interviewed  him  at 
Delhi,  “  that  whatever  happens  there  will  be  no  surrender. 
For  me,  even  if  I  stand  alone,  there  is  no  participation  in 
the  war  even  if  the  Government  should  surrender  the 
whole  control  to  the  Congress.”  To  another  friend  who 
doubted  whether  enough  people  would  respond  to  his  call 
of  unqualified  ahimsa  in  the  face  of  danger,  he  replied, 
“  Who  would  have  thought  aeroplanes  to  be  a  practical 
reality  fifty  years  ago  ?  Who  would  have  imagined  in 
this  country,  thirty  years  ago,  that  thousands  of  innocent 
men,  women  and  children  would  be  ready  smilingly  to 
march  to  the  prison  ?  The  weapon  of  ahimsa  does  not 
need  supermen  or  superwomen  to  wield  it ;  even  beings 
of  common  clay  can  use  it  and  have  used  it  before  with 
success.  At  any  rate,  fifteen  members  of  the  Working 
Committee  did  express  their  readiness  to  put  their  ahimsa 
to  the  test.  That  was  more  than  I  was  prepared  for.” 

Though  the  crisis  for  the  time  being  was  averted,  it 
set  him  thinking  furiously.  He  began  to  address  his 
thoughts  to  Europe.  “  It  needed  great  courage,”  he  wrote 
to  a  friend,  “  but  God  gave  it.” 

In  an  article  entitled  “  If  I  were  a  Czech  ”,  dated 
Peshawar,  6th  October,  1938,  in  which  he  characterized 
the  Anglo-French  arrangement  with  Herr  Hitler  as  “  peace 
without  honour  ”,  he  wrote  :  “  I  want  to  say  to  the  Czechs 
and  through  them  to  all  those  nationalities  which  are  call¬ 
ed  ‘  small  ’  or  *  weak  ’ . that  the  small  nations  must 

either  come  or  be  ready  to  come  under  the  protection  of 
the  dictators  or  be  a  constant  menace  to  the  peace  of 
Europe.  In  spite  of  all  the  goodwill  in  the  world  England 


FRONTIER  DEFENCE  —  OLD  ST\  1  -E 
TOCHI SCOUTS 

>  Raiders  carried  away  sentry  along  with  rifle. 

ps  114. 


THE  SHADOW  OF  MUNICH 


49 


and  France  cannot  save  them . If  I  were  a  Czech, 

therefore,  I  would  free  these  two  nations  from  the  obli¬ 
gation  to  defend  my  country.  And  yet, . I  would  not 

be  a  vassal  to  any  nation  or  body . To  seek  to  win  in 

a  clash  of  arms  would  be  pure  bravado.  Not  so,  if  in 
defying  the  might  of  one  who  would  deprive  me  cf  my 
independence  I  refuse  to  obey  his  will  and  perish  unarmed 
in  the  attempt.  In  so  doing,  though  I  lose  the  body,  I 
save  my  soul,  i.  e.,  my  honour . 

“  ‘  But,’  says  a  comforter,  ‘  Hitler  knows  no  pity, 
your  spiritual  effort  will  avail  nothing  before  him.’ 

“  My  answer  is,  ‘  You  may  be  right . If  Hitler  is 

unaffected  by  my  suffering,  it  does  not  matter.  For  I 
shall  have  lost  nothing  worthwhile.  My  honour  is  the 
only  thing  worth  preserving.  That  is  independent  of 
Hitler’s  pity.  But  as  a  believer  in  non-violence,  I  may 
not  limit  its  possibilities.  Hitherto  he  and  his  like  have 
built  upon  their  invariable  experience  that  men  yield  to 
force.  Unarmed  men,  women  and  children  offering  non¬ 
violent  resistance  without  any  bitterness  in  them  will  be 
a  novel  experience  for  them.  Who  can  dare  say  that  it  is 
not  in  their  nature  to  respond  to.  the  higher  and  finer 
forces  ?  They  have  the  same  soul  that  I  have.’ 

“  But,  says  another  comforter,  ‘  What  you  say  is  all 
right  for  you.  But  how  do  you  expect  your  people  to 
respond  to  the  novel  call  ?  They  are  trained  to  fight . ’ 

“  You  may  be  right.  But  I  have  a  call  I  must  answer. 
When  I  first  launched  out  on  Satyagraha  in  South 

Africa  I  had  no  companion . But  the  honour  of  the 

nation  was  saved.  New  history  was  written  by  the  South 
African  Satyagraha.  A  more  apposite  instance  is  that  of 
Khan  Saheb  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan,  the  Servant  of  God  as 
he  calls  himself,  the  Pride  of  Afghan  as  the  Pathans 
delight  to  call  him.  He  is  sitting  in  front  of  me  as  I  pen 
these  lines.  He  has  made  several  thousand  of  his  people 
throw  down  their  arms.  He  thinks  he  has  imbibed  the 


P-4 


50 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


lesson  of  non-violence.  He  is  not  sure  of  his  people.  I 
reproduce  the  pledge  that  his  soldiers  of  peace  make  r 

“  In  presence  of  God  I  solemnly  affirm  that : 

1.  I  hereby  honestly  and  sincerely  offer  myself  for  en¬ 
rolment  as  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar. 

2.  I  shall  be  ever  ready  to  sacrifice  personal  comfort,, 
property  and  even  life  itself  to  serve  the  nation  and  for  the 
attainment  of  my  country’s  freedom. 

3.  I  shall  not  participate  in  factions,  nor  pick  up  a  quar¬ 
rel  with  or  bear  enmity  towards  anybody.  I  shall  always 
protect  the  oppressed  against  the  tyranny  of  the  oppressor. 

4.  I  shall  not  become  member  of  any  other  organization 
and  shall  not  furnish  security  or  tender  apology  in  the  course 
of  the  non-violent  fight. 

5.  I  shall  always  obey  every  legitimate  order  of  my 
superior  officers. 

6.  I  shall  always  live  up  to  the  principle  of  non-violence. 

7.  I  shall  serve  all  humanity  equally.  The  chief  object 
of  my  life  shall  be  attainment  of  complete  independence  and 
religious  freedom. 

8.  I  shall  always  observe  truth  and  purity  in  all  my  ac¬ 
tions. 

9.  I  shall  expect  no  remuneration  for  my  services. 

10.  All  my  services  shall  be  dedicated  to  God ;  they  shall 
not  be  for  attaining  rank  or  for  show.” 

I  have  come  to  the  Frontier  Province,  or  rather  he  has 
brought  me,  to  see  with  my  own  eyes  what  his  men  here 
are  doing.  I  can  say  in  advance  and  at  once  that  these  men 
know  very  little  of  non-violence.  All  the  treasure  they 
have  on  earth  is  their  faith  in  their  leader.  I  do  not  cite 
these  soldiers  of  peace  as  at  all  a  finished  illustration.  I 
cite  them  as  an  honest  attempt  being  made  by  a  soldier 
to  convert  fellow  soldiers  to  the  ways  of  peace.  I  can 
testify  that  it  is  an.  honest  attempt,  and  whether  in  the 
end  it  succeeds  or  fails,  it  will  have  its  lessons  for  satya- 
grahis  of  the  future.  My  purpose  will  be  fulfilled  if  I 
succeed  in  reaching  these  men’s  hearts  and  making  them 
see  that  if  their  non-violence  does  not  make  them  feel 
much  braver  than  the  possession  of  arms  and  the  ability 
to  use  them  they  must  give  up  their  non-violence,  which 
is  another  name  for  cowardice,  and  resume  their  arms 
which  there  is  nothing  but  their  own  will  to  prevent  them 


THE  SHADOW  OF  MUNICH 


51 


from  taking  back . There  is  no  bravery  greater  than 

a  resolute  refusal  to  bend  the  knee  to  an  earthly  power, 
no  matter  how  great,  and  that  without  bitterness  of  spirit 
and  in  the  fullness  of  faith  that  the  spirit  alone  lives, 
nothing  else  does/' 


CHAPTER  VI 

•  IN  FRONTIER  GANDHI’S  VILLAGE  HOME 

Thanks  to  the  hospitable  care  of  Badshah  Khan  and 
his  brother  Dr.  Khan  Saheb,  contrary  to  all  forebodings 
Gandhi ji  flourished  in  the  bracing  climate  of  the  North- 
West  Frontier  Province.  The  cold  was  not  yet  too  in¬ 
tense  and  there  was  an  agreeable  nip  in  the  air.  Badshah 
Khan,  the  fakir,  gave  him  all  the  rest  that  one  could 
wish  for.  A  kinder  or  a  more  considerate  ‘  jailor  ’  Gandhiji 
never  had.  He  left  Gandhiji  free  to  follow  his  regime  of 
almost  unbroken  silence  and  to  order  his  time  just  as  he 
liked.  There  were  no  public  functions,  no  interviews, 
practically  no  conversations  even  by  written  slips  of  paper. 
It  is  related  about  Emerson  that  when  he  paid  his  historic 
visit  to  the  Sage  of  Chelsea,  neither  of  them  spoke  a  word. 
At  the  end  of  his  “  wordless  interview  ”  the  Poet  of  Con¬ 
cord  rose  with  the  parting  remark,  “  Sir,  we  had  a  good 
talk,”  to  which  Carlyle,  who  believed  in  the  virtue  of 
silence,  replied,  “  Yes,  sir,  and  a  most  eloquent  one.”  I  am 
perfectly  sure  that  if  Gandhiji  had  only  wished  it,  Badshah 
Khan,  on  his  part,  would  have  been  satisfied  to  give  him 
a  “  tour  ”  without  any  touring  and  a  “  programme  ” 
without  any  engagements,  and  at  the  end  of  it  allowed 
him  to  say  Emersonwise,  “  Sir,  we  had  an  exciting  tour 
programme  !  ” 

Badshah  Khan  never  feels  completely  happy,  unless 
he  can  breathe  the  fresh,  free  air  of  the  countryside  in  the 
midst  of  his  native  surroundings.  No  Pathan  ever  does. 
And  Badshah  Khan  has  a  particular  horror  of  big  cities 
with  their  seething  population,  self-seeking  and  chicanery. 
In  order,  therefore,  to  give  to  Gandhiji  complete  physical 
and  mental  rest,  he  brought  him  away  from  Peshawar  on 
the  9th  of  October,  1938,  after  a  four  days’  stay,  to  his 
country  residence  at  Utmanzai. 

52 


FRONTIER  DEFENCE  (NEW  STYLE)  —  BEFRIENDING  THE  TRIBESMEN 
“  Mohmand  caps,  ruddy,  cherub  faces.” 

p.  64. 


IN  FRONTIER  GANDHI’S  VILLAGE  HOME 


53 


Set  in  the  midst  of  a  landscape  of  rare  pastoral  beauty, 
on  the  bank  of  the  Swat  river,  the  little  village  of  Utmanzai 
is  not  lacking  in  idyllic  charm.  For  miles  together  on 
all  sides  there  is  an  unbroken  stretch  of  dark  green  fields 
of  maize  and  cane  and  legumes  and  cotton,  interspersed 
with  fruit  gardens  which  grow  the  finest  fruit,  from  blood- 
red  oranges  to  prize  peaches  and  plums  and  grapes  and 
apricots  and  rich  luscious  pears.  The  soil  is  rich,  the 
water  plentiful,  thanks  to  the  Swat  river  canal  which, 
with  the  soft  gurgle  of  its  numberless  little  waterfalls,  fills 
the  entire  landscape  with  a  gentle,  unceasing  music  by 
day  and  by  night. 

On  the  edge  of  the  village  there  is  a  small,  picturesque 
water  mill.  A  quaint,  old-world  air  hangs  over  the  place, 
which  seems  loath  to  change  with  the  changing  times. 
The  houses  in  the  village,  even  of  the  aristocracy,  are 
mostly  mud,  with  thick  adobe  walls  and  heavily  timbered 
roofing  which  keep  them  cool  in  the  hot  weather  and 
agreeably  warm  in  the  cold.  Some  of  these  houses  are 
still  built  in  the  old  Pathan  style  with  hujra  (guest  room) 
in  front,  the  stables  next,  and  the  residential  quarters 
proper  right  at  the  back.  The  hujra  at  present  serves  as 
the  servants’  quarters,  but  in  the  good  old  days  it  served 
also  as  the  ‘  village  club  house  ’  where  all  the  male  adults 
of  the  village  daily  gossiped  together  and  smoked,  and 
where  the  bachelors  slept  at  night  in  preference  to  their 
own  homes.  The  horses  in  the  stables,  I  was  told,  used 
to  be  kept  ready  harnessed  day  and  night  in  the  old  un¬ 
settled  times  so  that  in  case  of  an  emergency  the  Khan 
could  in  an  instant  leap  into  the  saddle  and  ride  off. 

Thanks  to  the  fine  metalled  roads  with  which  the 
whole  of  the  Frontier  Province  is  heavily  intersected,  and 
increasing  facilities  for  vehicular  traffic  which  they  pro¬ 
vide,  the  stables  are  today  almost  all  empty,  though  an 
enthusiastic  horse-lover  might  still,  here  and  there,  try  to 
maintain  the  appearance  of  the  old  tradition.  These  roads 
are  a  gratuitous  gift,  at  the  expense  of  the  poor  Indian 
tax-payer,  which  the  Frontier  Province  owes  to  the  strate¬ 
gic  exigencies  of  British  Imperialism.  During  the  Civil 


.54  A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 

Disobedience  days  they  became  at  once  a  prize  and  a 
penalty  for  “  insubordination  The  more  mettle  a  vil¬ 
lage  showed,  the  more  metal  it  got  in  the  form  of  a  metal¬ 
led  road  —  for  punitive  purposes,  of  course. 

The  village  has  no  proper  drainage  system  ;  there  is 
no  municipality.  The  principal  drain  meanders  sluggishly 
through  the  streets,  spreading  out  into  black,  slushy,  and 
none  too  sweet-smelling  pools  here  and  there,  and  ends 
blindly.  Nor  have  the  people  learnt  the  value  and  import¬ 
ance  of  proper  sanitary  arrangements.  All  this  left  a  deep 
impression  on  Gandhiji’s  mind  and  formed  the  theme  of  a 
talk  which  he  gave  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  later  at 
Peshawar. 

A  little  incident  in  connection  with  Gandhiji’s  stay 
at  Utmanzai,  that  was  misreported  and  exercised  several 
friends,  must  be  noticed  here  in  passing.  Being  over¬ 
anxious  for  Gandhiji’s  safety,  Badshah  Khan  had  posted 
on  the  roofs  of  the  rooms  in  his  residence  Khudai  Khidmat¬ 
gars  to  keep  watch  during  the  nights  that  Gandhi ji  was 
at  Utmanzai.  Before  posting  them,  Badshah  Khan  had 
a  talk  with  Gandhiji  without  mentioning  his  plan.  He 
simply  asked  if  Gandhiji  objected  to  policing.  Gandhiji 
was  in  silence  and,  without  knowing  what  he  was  in  for, 
he  nodded  so  as  to  say,  he  did  not.  Badshah  Khan  under¬ 
stood  it  as  consent  for  the  posting  of  armed  night  watches. 
When,  however,  Gandhiji  came  to  know  of  armed  guards, 
he  objected  and  said  that  whilst  he  would  tolerate  policing 
for  others  he  could  not  tolerate  armed  guards  for  his  pro¬ 
tection.  It  would  be  quite  contrary  to  the  practice  of  a 
lifetime.  Badshah  Khan  had  thought  that  since  the  arms 
were  meant  only  to  scare  away  possible  mischief-mongers 
and  were  intended  never  to  be  used,  Gandhiji  probably 
would  have  no  objection  to  their  retention.  Gandhiji  point¬ 
ed  out  the  fallacy  in  his  argument  by  a  parable.  The  Lord 
God  once  sent  for  the  serpent  and  told  him  that  He  would 
take  away  his  fangs.  “  All  right,”  replied  the  serpent, 
“  but,  let  me  retain  my  hiss.”  “  You  may  do  so,”  warned  the 
Lord  God,  “  but  remember,  Adam’s  children  will  in  that 
event  exterminate  you  and  your  kind.”  “  The  moral,” 


IN  FRONTIER  GANDHI’S  VILLAGE  HOME 


55 


remarked  Gandhiji,  “  is  that  show  of  force  is  also  a  species 
of  violence  and  brings  upon  the  user  the  same  retribution 
as  violence  itself,  indeed  it  is  worse.”  Badshah  Khan  appre¬ 
ciated  Gandhiji’s  objection.  The  guards  were  removed, 
but  Badshah  Khan  insisted  on  unarmed  night  watches  to 
which  Gandhiji  submitted,  though  under  protest. 

To  Gandhiji’s  mind  the  incident  seemed  to  be  sym¬ 
bolical  of  another  and  bigger  issue  that  confronted  the 
country.  Just  as  a  satyagrahi  must  renounce  the  use  of 
arms  for  self-protection,  even  so,  if  India  was  ever  to  at¬ 
tain  non-violent  Swaraj  she  must  first  be  able  to  defend 
herself  against  the  trans-border  raids  without  the  help  of 
the  police  and  the  military.  Here  in  the  Frontier  Pro¬ 
vince  there  were  said  to  be  one  lakh  of  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars  pledged  to  the  creed  of  non-violence.  If  they  had 
really  assimilated  the  principle  of  non-violence,  said 
Gandhiji,  if  their  non-violence  was  the  true  non-violence 
<of  the  brave  and  not  a  mere  expedient  or  a  lip  profession, 
they  ought  to  be  able  to  befriend  the  trans-border  raiders 
by  their  loving  service,  and  to  wean  them  from  their  raid¬ 
ing  habit.  Indeed  they  could  win  independence  fof  India 
and  set  an  example  to  the  whole  world. 

He  opened  out  his  heart  in  the  course  of  a  talk  with 
Badshah  Khan  :  “  The  conviction  is  growing  upon  me,”  he 
began,  “  that  unless  we  can  develop  the  capacity  to  stop 
these  Frontier  raids  without  the  help  of  the  police  and  the 
military,  it  is  no  use  the  Congress  retaining  power  in  this 
province.  For,  in  that  case,  our  strength  will  continue  to 
ebb  away  and  we  are  bound  to  be  defeated  in  the  end.  A 
wise  General  never  waits  till  he  is  beaten.  He  withdraws 
in  time  from  a  position  which  he  knows  he  would  not  be 
able  to  hold.” 

“  For  years,”  he  continued,  “  ever  since  we  met 
each  other,  it  has  been  a  pet  dream  of  mine  to  visit 
the  tribal  areas,  go  right  up  to  Kabul,  mix  with  the  trans- 
border  tribes  and  try  to  understand  their  psychology.  Why 
should  we  not  go  forth  together,  present  to  them  our 
viewpoint  and  establish  with  them  a  bond  of  friendship 
and  sympathy  ?  I  am  certain  that  the  only  way  of  bring- 


56 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


ing  about  a  permanent  settlement  of  the  Frontier  problem 
is  through  the  way  of  peace  and  reason.  If  our  Khudai 
Khidmatgar  organization  is  what  its  name  signifies  and 
what  it  ought  to  be,  I  am  sure  we  can  achieve  that  feat 
today. 

“  I  am,  therefore,  anxious  to  find  to  what  extent  the 
Khudai  Khidmatgars  have  understood  and  assimilated  the 
spirit  of  non-violence,  where  they  stand  and  what  your 
and  my  future  line  of  action  should  be. 

“  In  South  Africa  a  small  band  of  13,000  satyagrahi 
countrymen  of  ours  were  able  to  hold  their  own  against 
the  might  of  the  Union  Government.  General  Smuts 
could  not  turn  them  out  as  he  had  the  50,000  Chinese  who 
were  driven  out  bag  and  baggage  in  less  than  six  months 
and  that  without  compensation.  He  would  not  have  hesi¬ 
tated  to  crush  us  if  we  had  strayed  from  the  path  of  non¬ 
violence.  What  could  not  an  army  of  one  lakh  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  trained  in  the  use  of  the  non-violence  method 
achieve  ?  ” 

Addressing  the  officers  of  the  Red  Shirts  next  he  pro¬ 
ceeded*  “  We  are  lucky  in  having  a  true,  honest,  God¬ 
fearing  man  like  Badshah  Khan  in  our  midst  here.  To 
his  credit  stands  the  miracle  of  making  thousands  of 
Pathans  renounce  their  arms.  No  one  can  say  what  the 
future  will  reveal.  May  be  that  all  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
may  not  prove  to  be  true  servants  of  God  as  their  name 
implies.  But  making  due  allowance  for  all  that  still  what 
has  been  achieved  is  nothing  short  of  marvellous.  What 
I  shall  expect  of  you  is  that  even  if  some  one  subjects 
you  to  the  most  inhuman  tortures,  you  will  joyfully  face 
the  ordeal  and  make  the  supreme  sacrifice  with  God’s 
name  on  your  lips  and  without  a  trace  of  fear  or  anger  or 
thought  of  revenge  in  your  hearts.  That  will  be  heroism 
of  the  highest  type.  To  fight  with  the  sword  does  call 
for  bravery  of  a  sort.  But  to  die  is  braver  far  than  to  kill. 
He  alone  is  truly  brave,  he  alone  is  martyr  in  the  true 
sense  who  dies  without  fear  in  his  heart  and  without 
wishing  hurt  to  his  enemy,  not  the  one  who  kills  and  dies. 
If  our  country,  even  in  its  present  fallen  state,  can  exhibit 


IN  FRONTIER  GANDHI’S  VILLAGE  HOME  57 

this  type  of  bravery,  what  a  beacon  light  will  it  be  for 
Europe  with  all  its  discipline,  science  and  organization  I 
If  Europe  but  realized  that  heroic  as  it  undoubtedly  is 
for  a  handful  of  people  to  offer  armed  resistance  in  the 
face  of  superior  numbers,  it  is  far  more  heroic  to  stand 
up  against  overwhelming  numbers  without  any  arms  at 
all,  it  would  save  itself  and  blaze  a  trail  for  the  world.” 

He  told  Badshah  Khan  that  he  would  like  to  have  a 
heart  to  heart  talk  with  as  many  Khudai  Khidmatgars  as 
possible  so  that  he  might  be  able  to  understand  them 
thoroughly  and  they,  him.  Accordingly,  he  met  the  officers 
of  the  Charsadda  tahsil,  thirteen  in  number,  on  two  suc¬ 
cessive  days  at  Utmanzai,  and  another  group  at  Peshawar* 
At  both  places,  in  reply  to  his  questions  they  assured  him 
that  their  adherence  to  the  principle  of  non-violence  was 
implicit  and  unqualified.  They  even  went  so  far  as  tO' 
declare  that  even  if  the  impossible  happened  and,  as 
Gandhiji  had  postulated  to  them,  Badshah  Khan  turned 
away  from  the  path  of  non-violence,  they  would  not  give 
up  their  faith  in  non-violence. 

Gandhiji  told  them  that  though  it  sounded  to  him 
an  overbold  statement  for  them  to  make,  still,  as  was  his 
wont,  he  would  take  them  at  their  word.  He  explained 
to  them  in  detail  what  his  conception  of  the  nature  and 
implications  of  non-violence  was.  It  was  comparatively 
easy  to  maintain  a  passive  sort  of  non-violence  when  the 
opponent  was  powerful  and  fully  armed.  But  would  they 
remain  non-violent  in  their  dealings  amongst  themselves 
and  with  their  own  countrymen,  where  there  was  no  ex¬ 
traneous  force  to  restrain  or  check  them  ?  Again,  was 
theirs  the  non-violence  of  the  strong  or  that  of  the  weak  ? 
If  theirs  was  the  non-violence  of  the  strong,  they  should 
feel  the  stronger  for  their  renunciation  of  the  sword.  But 
if  that  was  not  the  case,  it  was  better  for  them  to  resume 
their  weapons  which  they  had  of  their  own  free  ‘will  dis¬ 
carded.  For  it  was  much  better  for  them  to  be  brave  sol¬ 
diers  in  arms  than  to  be  disarmed  and  cowardly. 

“  A  charge  has  been  levelled  against  me  and  Badshah 
Khan,”  he  remarked,  “  that  we  are  rendering  India  and 


58 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PE4CE 


Islam  a  disservice  by  presenting  the  gospel  of  non-violence 
to  the  brave  and  warlike  people  of  the  Frontier.  They 
say  that  I  have  come  here  to  sap  your  strength.  The 
Frontier  Province,  they  say,  is  the  bastion  of  Islam  in 
India,  the  Pathans  are  past  masters  in  the  use  of  the  sword 
and  the  rifle  and  mine  is  an  attempt  to  emasculate  them 
by  making  them  renounce  their  arms  and  thus  undermine 
the  citadel  of  the  strength  and  security  of  Islam.  I  wholly 
repudiate  the  charge.  My  faith  is  that  by  adopting  the 
doctrine  of  non-violence  in  its  entirety  you  will  be  render¬ 
ing  a  lasting  service  to  India  and  to  Islam  which,  just  now, 
it  seems  to  me,  is  in  danger.  If  you  have  understood  the 
power  of  non-violence,  you  ought  to  feel  the  stronger  for 
having  put  away  your  arms.  Yours  will  be  the  spiritual 
strength  with  which  you  can  not  only  protect  Islam  but 
even  other  religions.  But  if  you  have  not  understood  the 
secret  of  this  strength,  if  as  a  result  of  renouncing  arms, 
you  feel  weak  instead  of  stronger  than  before,  it  would  be 
better  for  you  to  give  up  the  profession  of  non-violence. 
I  cannot  bear  to  see  a  single  Pathan  turn  weak  or  coward¬ 
ly  under  my  influence.  Rather  than  that  I  would  that 
you  returned  to  your  arms  with  a  vengeance. 

“  Today  the  Sikhs  say  that  if  they  give  up  the  kirpan  * 
they  give  up  everything.  They  seem  to  have  made  the 
kirpan  into  their  religion.  By  discarding  it,  they  think, 
they  will  become  weak  and  cowardly.  I  tell  them,  that 
is  an  idle  fear  and  I  am  here  to  tell  you  the  same.  I 
have  read  the  Quran  with  as  much  care  and  reverence 
as  I  have  read  the  Gita.  I  have  read  other  important 
books  on  Islam  too.  I  claim  to  have  as  much  regard  in 
my  heart  for  Islam  and  other  religions  as  for  my  own,  and 
I  dare  say  with  all  the  emphasis  that  I  can  command  that 
although  the  sword  has  been  wielded  in  the  history  of 

*  A  miniature  dagger  which  the  Sikhs  generally  wear  in  their 
turban  as  a  religious  symbol.  Some  of  the  Sikhs,  during  the  period 
of  communal  tension,  claimed  the  right  to  carry  kirpans  of  any  size 
they  liked  as  a  matter  of  religious  right,  to  which  exception  was 
taken  by  the  authorities  as  being  in  contravention  of  the  Arms  Act 
Regulations. 


IN  FRONTIER  GANDHI’S  VILLAGE  HOME  59 

Islam  and  that  too  in  the  name  of  religion,  Islam  was  not 
founded  by  the  sword  nor  was  its  spread  due  to  it.  Simi¬ 
larly  in  Christianity  the  sword  has  been  freely  used.  But 
the  spread  of  Christianity  was  not  due  to  its  use.  On  the 
contrary,  the  use  of  the  sword  has  only  tarnished  its  fair 
name.  Millions  in  Europe  swear  by  Christianity.  But 
contrary  to  the  teachings  of  Jesus,  they  are  engaged 
in  a  fratricidal  orgy  of  bloodshed  and  murder,  which  is  a 
negation  of  true  Christianity.  If  you  can  assimilate  what 
I  have  been  telling  you,  your  influence  will  travel  far  and 
heyond  your  borders  and  you  will  show  the  way  to  Europe. 

“  Today  a  force  of  17,000  British  soldiers  is  able  to 
rule  over  us  because  they  have  behind  them  the  power 
of  the  British  Government.  If  Khudai  Khidmatgars  really 
felt  within  themselves  the  upsurge  of  soul  force  as  a 
sequel  to  their  renouncing  arms,  not  even  17,000  would 
be  needed  to  win  India  her  freedom,  because  they  shall 
have  the  strength  of  God  behind  them.  As  against  it  if 
a  million  of  them  professed  non-violence  while  there  was 
violence  lurking  in  their  hearts,  they  would  count  as  no¬ 
thing.  You  should  renounce  the  sword  because  you  have 
realized  that  it  is  the  symbol  not  of  your  strength  but  of 
your  weakness,  because  it  does  not  make  for  true  bravery. 
But  if  you  put  away  your  sword  outwardly  but  there  is 
the  sword  in  your  hearts,  you  shall  have  begun  the  wrong 
way  and  your  renunciation  will  be  devoid  of  any  merit. 
It  may  even  prove  dangerous. 

“  What  is  the  meaning  of  eradicating  violence  from 
the  heart  ?  ”  he  next  asked  and  proceeded  to  explain  that 
it  meant  not  merely  the  ability  to  control  one’s  anger  but 
its  complete  eradication  from  the  heart :  “If  a  dacoit 
inspires  anger  or  fear  in  my  heart,  it  means  that  I  have 
not  yet  purged  myself  of  violence.  To  realize  non-violence 
means  to  feel  within  you  its  strength,  otherwise  known  as 
soul  force,  in  short,  to  know  God.  A  person  who  has 
Enown  God  will  be  incapable  of  feeling  or  harbouring 
anger  or  fear  within  him,  no  matter  how  overpowering  the 
■cause  for  it  may  be.” 


60 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


A  Khudai  Khidmatgar,  he  told  them  at  one  place,  had 
first  to  be  a  man  of  God,  i.e.  a  servant  of  humanity.  It 
would  demand  of  him  purity  in  deed,  word  and  thought 
and  ceaseless,  honest  industry,  since  purity  of  mind  and: 
idleness  are  incompatible.  They  should,  therefore,  learn, 
some  handicraft  which  they  could  practise  in  their  homes.. 
This  should  preferably  be  ginning,  spinning  and  weaving, 
as  these  alone  could  be  offered  to  millions  and  in  their- 
own  homes  :  “  A  person  who  renounces  the  sword  dare- 
not  remain  idle  for  a  single  minute.  An  idle  man’s  brain,, 
as  the  popular  proverb  says,  is  the  devil’s  workshop.  Idle¬ 
ness  corrodes  the  soul  and  intellect  both.  A  person  who- 
has  renounced  violence  will  take  the  name  of  God  with 
every  breath  and  do  his  work  all  the  twenty-four  hours. 
There  will  be  no  room  for  an  idle  thought. 

“  Moreover,  every  Khudai  Khidmatgar  must  have  an 
independent  means  of  livelihood.  Today  many  of  you 
have  land,  but  your  land  can  be  taken  away  from  you, 
not  your  craft  or  your  manual  skill.  It  is  true  that  God 
provides  to  His  servant  his  daily  bread  but  only  if  he  per¬ 
form  bread  labour.  If  you  work  not,  neither  shall  you 
eat,  is  nature’s  law  and  should  be  yours  too.  You  have 
adopted  red  shirts  as  your  uniform.  I  had  hoped  you 
would  have  adopted  khadi  too  which  is  the  livery  of  free¬ 
dom.  But  I  see  that  very  few  among  you  wear  khadi . 
The  reason  perhaps  is  that  you  have  to  provide  your  own 
uniform  and  khadi  is  dearer.  That  would  not  be  so  if  you 
spin  for  yourself.” 

They  should  further,  he  told  them,  learn  Hindustani, 
as  that  would  enable  them  to  cultivate  and  enlarge  their 
minds  and  bring  them  in  touch  with  the  wider  world.  It. 
was  up  to  them  also  to  learn  the  rudiments  of  the  science 
of  sanitation  and  first-aid,  and  last  but  not  least,  they 
should  cultivate  an  attitude  of  equal  respect  and  reverence 
towards  all  religions.  “  It  is  not  the  wearing  of  the  red 
shirt  that  makes  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar,”  he  concluded, 
“  nor  standing  in  serried  ranks  but  to  feel  within  you  the 
strength  of  God  which  is  the  opposite  of  the  strength  of 
arms.  You  have  yet  only  arrived  at  the  portal  of  non- 


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61 


violence.  Still  you  have  been  able  to  achieve  so  much. 
How  much  greater  your  achievement  will  be  when  you 
have  fully  entered  its  holy  edifice  !  But  as  I  have  said 
before,  all  that  requires  previous  preparation  and  training. 
At  present  you  lack  both.” 

A  dialogue  between  Badshah  Khan  and  Gandhi ji 
next  followed  : 

Badshah  Khan  :  There  are  some  Pathans  in  the 
villages  here  who  persecute  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
beyond  endurance.  They  beat  them,  seize  their  lands 
and  so  on.  What  are  we  to  do  against  them  ? 

Gandhi  ji :  We  have  to  meet  their  high-handedness 
with  patience  and  forbearance.  We  have  to  meet  their 
atrocities  in  the  same  way  as  we  used  to  meet  the 
Britishers’,  not  answer  violence  by  violence,  nor  abuse 
by  abuse,  nor  harbour  anger  in  our  hearts.  If  we  do 
f  that  it  is  sure  to  melt  their  hearts.  If  it  fails,  we  shall 
non-co-operate.  If  they  seize  our  lands,  we  shall  refuse 
to  provide  them  the  labour  even  though  we  may  have 
to  starve.  We  shall  brave  their  wrath  but  refuse  to 
submit  or  go  against  our  conscience. 

Badshah  Khan  :  Would  it  be  permissible  for  us  to 
lodge  a  complaint  against  them  before  the  police  and 
get  them  punished  ? 

Gandhiji :  A  true  Khudai  Khidmatgar  won’t  go 
to  a  law  court.  Fighting  in  a  law  court  is  just  like 
physical  fighting.  Only,  you  use  force  by  proxy.  To 
get  the  police  to  punish  the  aggressor  is  only  a  form  of 
revenge  which  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar  must  abjure.  Let 
me  illustrate  my  meaning  by  a  personal  instance.  At 
Sevagram  some  Harijans  came  to  me  and  told  me  that 
unless  I  could  get  a  Harijan  included  in  the  C.  P.  Con¬ 
gress  Ministry,  they  would  offer  ‘  Satyagraha  ’  by  stag¬ 
ing  a  hunger  strike.  I  knew  it  was  all  the  doing  of  a 
mischief-maker.  The  Police  Superintendent  wanted  to 
pofet  some  police  force  as  he  was  afraid  that  the  hooli¬ 
gans  might  do  some  mischief.  But  I  said  ‘  no  ’  to  him 
and  told  the  Harijans  that  they  need  not  sit  outside  in 
the  sun  ;  they  could  occupy  any  room  they  liked  in  the 


62 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Ashram.  I  offered  to  feed  them  too  if  they  wanted. 
They  chose  my  wife’s  bathroom.  I  let  them  occupy  it. 
We  looked  after  their  needs  and  when  one  of  them  fell 
ill,  we  nursed  him.  The  result  was  that  they  became 
our  friends. 


% 


CHAPTER  VII 

THE  ROAD  TO  NOWSHERA 

Like  all  good  things  on  earth,  the  spell  of  1  masterly 
inactivity’  which  the  Faqir  Badshah  Khan  had  provided 
to  Gandhiji  came  to  an  end  when  we  set  out  on  a  tour 
of  the  interior  of  the  Mardan  District  and  Nowshera,  the 
remaining  tahsil  of  the  Peshawar  District.  The  itinerary 
was  brief  and  arranged  in  easy  stages,  so  that  Gandhiji 
was  able  to  cover  it  practically  without  any  fatigue.  The 
journey  was  by  motor,  the  propaganda  bus  which  Pandit 
Jawaharlal  Nehru  had  donated  to  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars  being  requisitioned  for  the  purpose.  As  we  sped 
along  the  asphalted  road,  whole  villages  on  either  side  of 
the  road  turned  out  of  doors  to  have  a  glimpse  of  Gandhiji. 
They  were  all  silent.  Such  was  their  discipline.  The  Pathans 
combine  with  their  giant  stature  a  warmth  of  generosity 
and  a  stoical  reserve  and  dignity  of  bearing  which  irre¬ 
sistibly  endear  them  to  you.  Their  one  weakness  —  if  a 
weakness  it  may  be  termed  —  is  their  passion  for  hospi¬ 
tality,  and  it  might  have  proved  embarrassing  to  Gandhiji. 
But  thanks  to  Badshah  Khan’s  forethought  and  his  timely 
appeal,  it  was  kept  effectively  in  check. 

The  only  exception  was  when  in  the  course  of  a 
casual  outing  near  Utmanzai,  Gandhiji  had  to  get  out  of  the 
bus  to  accept  gifts  of  fruit  and  sugar-cane  and  vegetables 
which  the  inhabitants  of  Munat  Khan  Kili  —  named  after 
one  of  Badshah  Khan’s  uncles  —  had  brought  as  a  token 
of  their  hospitality.  “  want  you  to  settle  in  oui  midst 
and  make  our  province  your  home,”  they  said  to  him, 
“  We  have  a  right  prescriptive  over  you,”  remarked  the 
leading  Khan.  “You  kept  our  Badshah  Khan  in  your 
part  of  the  country  under  duress  for  six  years.*  We  can 

*  A  humorous  reference  to  Badshah  Khan  s  various  terms  of 
imprisonment  when  he  was  kept  outside  his  province  in  Biitish 
Indian  jails  in  connection  with  the  Civil  Disobedience  struggle. 

63 


64 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


ieep  you  here  as  prisoner  of  our  love  for  at  least  six 
months.”  And  everybody  laughed  heartily  at  the  joke, 
Gandhiji  with  the  rest.  Over  a  score  of  little  children  too 
had  tumbled  out  of  the  village  to  be  introduced  to 
Gandhiji  and  shake  hands  with  him.  They  walked  up  to 
Gandhiji  one  by  one,  their  Mohmand  caps  drawn  close 
over  their  ruddy;  cherub  faces,  took  both  his  hands  in 
theirs  and  shook  them  with  a  grave  air  of  importance  in 
the  right  Pathan  style,  not  forgetting  their  familiar 
“  stirra  mashe  ”  t  and  conceitedly  strutted  off  like  turxey 
•cocks,  with  an  additional  air  of  importance  which  they 
had  gained  in  their  own  eyes  ! 

From  Peshawar  to  Nowshera  is  an  hour’s  journey  by 
car.  The  sun  shone  clear  in  the  sapphire  blue  sky  and 
the  air  was  agreeably  crisp  and  cool  when  we  started. 
The  rich  natural  beauty  of  the  lanscape  seen  through  a 
thin  purple  haze,  the  garish  panorama  of  tumbled  up 
masses  of  hills,  said  at  one  time  to  have  been  heavily  wood¬ 
ed  but  now  bare,  torn  and  wind-swept,  that  girdled  the 
distant  horizon,  entranced  one.  Before  the  mind’s  eye 
rose  the  vision  of  the  storied  past  as  one  contemplated 
the  numerous  relics  of  the  Buddhists  and  Graeco-Bactrian 
culture  with  which  the  whole  of  the  Swat  and  the  Kabul 
river  valleys  are  thickly  strewn.  But  Gandhiji’s  mind  was 
wholly  occupied  with  thoughts  of  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars.  He  had  undertaken  a  tremendous  responsibility. 
Here  was  a  body  of  men,  famed  throughout  the  world  as 
the  doughtiest  of  fighters.  And  now,  at  the  bidding  of 
one  man,  they  had  renounced  the  use  of  arms  and  adopt¬ 
ed  non-violence  as  their  creed.  What  must  he  do  to  con¬ 
vert  them  into  full-fledged  soldiers  of  non-violence  for 
winning  India’s  freedom  ?  Would  he  succeed  ? 

We  reached  Nowshera  after  crossing  the  Kabul  river. 
There  was  a  big  military  establishment  at  Nowshera 
which,  together  with  the  cantonment  and  air  base  at  Risal- 
pur,  served  to  reinforce  the  military  set-up  at  Peshawar. 
Peshawar,  being  near  the  border,  was  not  considered 


t  The  Pathan  form  of  greeting  meaning  ‘May  you  never  be  tired 


“  A  thin  purple  haze,  the  garish  panorama  of  tumbled  up 

masses  of  hills.” 


THE  ROAD  TO  NOWSHERA 


65 


altogether  immune  against  a  possible  surprise  from 
the  direction  of  the  Khyber  Pass  which  it  guarded.  At 
Nowshera,  as  at  Utmanzai  and  Peshawar,  Gandhiji  had 
a  meeting  with  the  officers  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars. 
In  the  course  of  a  written  address  which  they  presented 
to  him,  they  thanked  him  for  having  given  them  the  wea¬ 
pon  of  non-violence  which  was  infinitely  superior  to  and 
more  potent  than  the  weapons  of  steel  and  brass.  They 
assured  Gandhiji  that  their  faith  in  non-violence  was  ab¬ 
solute  and  unqualified  as  had  been  amply  proved  by  their 
conduct  during  the  Civil  Disobedience  fight  and  that  they 
would  never  go  back  upon  it. 

“  I  accept  in  toto  your  assurance,”  said  Gandhiji  in 
acknowledging  the  address,  “  that  you  have  fully  under¬ 
stood  the  principle  of  non-violence  and  that  you  will  hold 
on  to  it  always.  I  congratulate  you  on  it,  and  I  further 
say  that  if  you  can  put  the  whole  of  that  doctrine  into 
practice,  you  will  make  history.  You  claim  to  have  one 
lakh  Khudai  Khidmatgars  on  your  register  which  exceeds 
the  total  number  of  Congress  volunteers  as  it  stands  to¬ 
day.  You  are  all  pledged  to  selfless  service.  You  get  no 
monetary  allowance.  You  have  even  to  provide  your  own 
uniforms.  You  are  a  homogeneous  and  disciplined  body. 
Badshah  Khan’s  word  is  law  to  you.  You  have  proved 
your  capacity  to  receive  blows  without  retaliation.  But 
this  is  only  the  first  step  in  your  probation,  not  the  last. 
To  gain  India’s  freedom,  the  capacity  for  suffering  must 
go  hand  in  hand  with  the  capacity  for  ceaseless,  selfless 
labour.  A  soldier  of  freedom  must  incessantly  work  for 
the  benefit  of  all.” 

IJe  then  proceeded  to  describe  in  detail  the  difference 
between  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar  and  an  ordinary  soldier  in 
regard  to  their  behaviour  and  training.  “  The  resemblance 
between  you  and  the  ordinary  soldier  begins  and  ends 
with  the  cut  of  the  uniform  and  perhaps  the  nomencla¬ 
tures  of  the  ranks  which  you  have  adopted.  Like  the 
military  you  have  your  Colonels  and  G.  0.  C.’s.  But  un¬ 
like  them  the  basis,  of  all  your  activity  is  not  violence  but 
non-violence.  Therefore,  your  training,  your  preoccupa- 


P-5 


66 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


tions,  your  mode  of  working,  even  your  thoughts  and 
aspirations  must  necessarily  be  different  from  theirs.  A 
soldier  in  arms  is  trained  to  kill.  Even  his  dreams  are 
about  killing.  He  dreams  of  fighting,  of  winning  fame 
and  advancement  on'  the  battlefield  by  the  prowess  of  his 
arms.  He  has  reduced  killing  to  an  art.  When  he  is  not 
engaged  in  fighting  he  occupies  himself  with  eating,  drink¬ 
ing,  swearing  and  making  merry  in  the  way  he  knows.  A 
satyagrahi,  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar,  on  the  other  hand, 
would  always  long  for  opportunity  for  silent  service.  All 
his  time  would  be  given  to  labour  of  love.  If  he  dreams, 
it  will  not  be  about  killing  but  about  laying  down  his  life 
to  serve  others.  He  has  reduced  dying  innocently  and  for 
his  fellow-men  to  an  art.” 

“  But  what  shall  be  the  training  that  will  fit  you  out 
for  this  sort  of  work  ?  ”  he  next  asked,  and  replied  that  it 
must  be  training  in  various  branches  of  constructive  work. 

With  one  lakh  Khudai  Khidmatgars  trained  in  the 
science  of  constructive  non-violence,  he  told  them,  trans- 
border  raids  should  become  a  thing  of  the  past.  “You 
should  consider  it  a  matter  of  utter  shame  if  a  single  theft 
or  dacoity  takes  place  in  your  midst.  Even  the  thieves 
and  trans-border  raiders  are  human  beings.  They  com¬ 
mit  crime  not  for  the  love  of  the  thing  itself  but  because 
they  are  driven  to  it  largely  by  necessity  and  want.  They 
know  no  better.  The  only  method  of  dealing  with  them 
that  has  been  adopted  so  far  has  been  that  of  force.  They 
are  given  no  quarter  and  they  give  none.  Dr.  Khan  Saheb 
feels  helpless  against  them  because  the  Government  has 
no  other  way  of  dealing  with  them.  But  you  can  make  a 
non-violent  approach  to  the  problem,  and  I  am  sure  you 
will  succeed  where  the  Government  has  failed.  You  can 
teach  them  to  live  honestly  like  yourselves  by  providing 
them  with  cottage  occupations.  You  can  go  in  their  midst, 
serve  them  in  their  homes  and  explain  to  them  things  in 
a  loving  and  sympathetic  manner,  and  you  will  find  that 
they  are  not  unamenable  to  the  argument  of  love.  There 
are  two  ways  open  to  you  today,  the  way  of  brute  force 
that  has  already  been  tried  and  found  wanting,  and  the 


THE  ROAD  TO  NOWSHERA  67 

way  of  peace.  You  seem  to  have  made  your  final  choice. 
May  you  prove  equal  to  it.” 

The  halt  at  Nowshera  was  only  for  a  couple  of  hours. 
We  reached  Hoti  Mardan  at  evening.  Hoti  Mardan  is 
the  headquarters  of  the  Mardan  District.  Like  Nowshera 
it  also  is  a  cantonment  town  and  owes  its  strategic  im¬ 
portance  to  the  fact  that  it  is  the  centre  of  traffic  for  the 
tribes  inhabiting  the  adjoining  territories  of  Swat,  Buner, 
Bajaur  and  Dir. 

A  note  of  caution  rang  through  the  talk  that  Gandhiji 
gave  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  at  Mardan.  In  reply  to 
his  usual  question,  whether  they  had  fully  understood  the 
meaning  of  non-violence  and  whether  they  would  remain 
non-violent  under  all  circumstances,  one  of  them  replied 
that  they  could  put  up  with  every  kind  of  provocation 
except  the  abuse  of  their  revered  leaders.  This  gave 
Gandhiji  his  cue,  and  he  explained  to  them  that  non-vio¬ 
lence  could  not,  like  the  curate’s  egg,  be  accepted  or  re¬ 
jected  in  part.  It  had  value  only  when  it  was  practised  in 
its  entirety.  “  When  the  sun  rises  the  whole  world  is  filled 
with  its  warmth  so  that  even  a  blind  man  feels  its  presence. 
Similarly  when  one  lakh  of  Khudai  Khidmatgars  are  fully 
permeated  with  the  spirit  of  non-violence,  it  will  proclaim 
itself  and  everybody  will  feel  its  life-giving  breath.” 

He  gave  a  detailed  description  of  the  close  relations 
that  existed  between  him  and  the  Pathans  in  South  Africa 
and  a  word  picture  of  Pathan  characteristics  and  added, 
“  I  know  it  is  difficult,  it  is  no  joke  for  a  Pathan  to  take 
an  affront  lying  low.”  The  sign,  he  went  on  to  explain,  by 
which  he  would  judge  whether  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
had  really  assimilated  the  spirit  of  non-violence  would  be 
that  they  should  have  won  the  hearts  of  all,  including  the 
lowliest  and  the  most  helpless,  through  their  loving  and 
selfless  service  and  be  able  to  command  their  co-operation 
and  obedience  not  through  fear  but  love.  “I  have  known  the 
Pathans  since  my  South  African  days.  I  had  the  privilege 
of  coming  into  close  and  intimate  contact  with  them.  Some 
of  them  were  my  clients.  They  treated  me  as  their  friend, 
philosopher  and  guide,  in  whom  they  could  confide  freely. 


68 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


They  would  even  come  and  confess  to  me  their  secret 
crimes.  They  were  a  rough  and  ready  lot.  Pastmasters 
in  the  art  of  wielding  the  lathi,  inflammable,  the  first  to 
take  part  in  riots,  they  held  life  cheap,  and  would  have 
killed  a  human  being  with  no  more  thought  than  they 
would  a  sheep  or  a  hen.  That  such  men  should,  at  the 
bidding  of  one  man,  have  laid  down  their  arms  and  ac¬ 
cepted  non-violence  as  the  superior  weapon  sounds  almost 
like  a  fairy  tale.  If  the  one  lakh  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
became  truly  non-violent  in  letter  and  in  spirit  and  shed 
their  violent  past  completely  as  a  snake  does  its  outworn 
skin,  it  would  be  nothing  short  of  a  miracle.  That  is  why 
in  spite  of  the  assurance  of  your  faith  in  non-violence  that 
you  have  given  me,  I  am  forced  to  be  cautious  and  pre¬ 
face  my  remarks  with  an  ‘  if  ’.  My  diffidence  is  only  a 
measure  of  the  difficulty  of  the  task.  But  nothing  is  too 
difficult  for  the  brave  and  I  know  the  Pathans  are  brave.” 

He  then  went  on  to  describe  the  signs  by  which  he 
would  judge  whether  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  had  im¬ 
bibed  the  spirit  of  non-violence.  “  The  crucial  test  by 
which  I  shall  judge  you  is  this.  Have  you  befriended  and 
won  the  confidence  of  each  and  all  in  your  locality  ?  Do 
the  people  regard  you  with  love  or  with  fear  ?  So  long 
as  a  single  individual  is  afraid  of  you,  you  are  no  true 
Khudai  Khidmatgar.  A  Khudai  Khidmatgar  will  be  gen¬ 
tle  in  his  speech  and  manner,  the  light  of  purity  will  shine 
forth  from  his  eyes,  so  that  even  a  stranger,  woman  or 
even  a  child  would  instinctively  feel  that  here  was  a  friend, 
a  man  of  God,  who  could  be  implicitly  trusted.  A  Khudai 
Khidmatgar  will  command  the  co-operation  of  all  sections 
of  the  community,  not  the  sort  of  obedience  that  a  Musso¬ 
lini  or  a  Hitler  can  command  through  his  unlimited  power 
of  coercion,  but  the  willing  and  spontaneous  obedience 
which  is  yielded  to  love  alone.  This  power  can  be  acquir-  „ 
ed  only  through  ceaseless,  loving  service,  and  waiting 
upon  God.  When  I  find  that  under  your  influence  people 
are  gradually  giving  up  their  insanitary  habits,  the  drunk¬ 
ard  is  being  weaned  from  drink  and  the  criminal  from 
crime  and  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  are  welcomed  every- 


THE  ROAD  TO  NOWSHERA 


69 


where  by  the  people  as  their  natural  protectors  and  friends 
in  need,  I  shall  know  that,  at  last,  we  have  got  in  our 
midst  a  body  of  men  who  have  really  assimilated  the  spirit 
of  non-violence  and  the  hour  of  India’s  deliverance  is  close 
at  hand.” 

Throughout  these  talks  with  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
Badshah  Khan  acted  as  interpreter,  and  a  finer  interpre¬ 
ter  Gandhiji  could  hardly  have  had  or  wished  for.  He 
did  his  work  with  rare  devotion  and  zeal  and  put  his  whole 
soul  into  it.  After  explaining  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
in  Pushtu  what  Gandhiji  had  said,  he  uttered  the  memo¬ 
rable  words  :  “I  know  it  is  difficult  to  curb  one’s  anger 
altogether.  But  you  have  pledged  yourselves  to  it  before 
God.  Man  is  by  nature  weak  but  God  is  all  powerful.  By 
yourselves  you  may  fail  in  your  efforts  to  be  completely 
non-violent  but  God  helping,  you  will  succeed.  It  may 
not  be  all  at  once.  The  progress  will  be  slow  and  there 
will  be  set-backs.  But  each  effort  will  take  you  a  step 
higher  on  your  path.  Do  not  lose  heart.”  Simple  words 
and  straight,  that  proceeded  from  the  depths  of  a  soul 
aglow  with  faith  in  God  and  went  straight  to  the  hearts 
of  his  disciples  ! 

Swabi  Tahsil  constitutes  the  north-easternmost  part  of 
Mardan  District  from  which  it  is  separated  by  the  Kalpani 
or  Chhalpani  (literally,  the  ‘deceitful  river’).  It  is  one 
of  the  strongholds  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement. 
During  the  Civil  Disobedience  days,  along  with  Utmanzai 
it  became  a  storm-centre  of  the  fight  which  gave  occasion 
for  ruthless  repression  on  the  one  side,  and  a  rare  non¬ 
violent  heroism  on  the  other.  Gandhiji’s  speech  here  was 
a  passionate  appeal  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  to  turn 
the  searchlight  inward.  In  it  he  propounded  the  philoso¬ 
phy  of  courting  imprisonment.  It  was  not  the  going  to 
prison  by  itself  but  the  moral  qualification  that  lay  behind 
it  which  constituted  the  real  sanction  in  Satyagraha.  He 
warned  them  too  that  if  they  could  not  bear  insults  and  in¬ 
dignities  in  jail  without  anger  in  their  hearts,  it  would 
be  better  for  them  to  give  up  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars’ 
uniform.  They  had  proved  their  mettle  by  marching  to 


70 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


jail  in  their  hundreds  and  thousands.  But  that  was  not 
enough.  Mere  filling  of  the  jails  -would  not  bring  India 
freedom.  “  Even  thieves  and  criminals  go  to  prison,  but 
their  prison-going  has  no  merit.  It  is  the  suffering  of  the 
pure  and  innocent  that  tells.  It  is  only  when  the  autho¬ 
rities  find  that  the  only  place  where  they  can  keep  the 
purest  and  most  innocent  citizens  is  prison  that  a  change 
of  heart  is  forced  upon  them.  A  satyagrahi  goes  to  prison 
not  to  embarrass  the  authorities  but  to  convert  them  by 
giving  to  them  an  experience  of  his  innocence.  You  should 
realize  that  unless  you  have  developed  the  moral  fitness 
to  go  to  prison  which  the  law  of  Satyagraha  demands, 
your  jail-going  will  be  useless  and  will  bring  you  only 
disappointment  at  the  end.  A  votary  of  non-violence  must 
have  the  capacity  to  put  up  with  the  indignities  and  hard¬ 
ships  of  prison  life  not  only  without  retaliation  or  anger 
but  with  pity  in  his  heart  for  the  perpetrators  of  those 
hardships  and  indignities.  I  would,  therefore,  today  ask 
you  to  examine  yourselves  in  the5  light  of  my  remarks, 
and  if  you  find  that  you  cannot  or  do  not  want  to  go  the 
full  length,  to  drop  your  badge  of  non-violence  and  request 
Badshah  Khan  to  release  you  from  your  pledge.  That 
will  be  a  species  of  heroism.  But  if  you  have  full  faith  in 
the  creed  of  non-violence  as  I  have  described  it,  then  know 
it  from  me  that  God  will  arm  you  with  the  required 
strength  in  your  hour  of  trial.” 

And  the  appeal  was  not  wasted.  At  the  end  of  the 
speech,  in  answer  to  Badshah  Khan’s  interrogatory,  the 
Khidmatgars  said:  “  We  admit  we  fall  short  of  Mahatmaji’s 
standard  of  non-violence.  We  have  not  been  able  to  banish 
anger  from  our  hearts.  We  often  lose  our  temper.  Some 
of  the  implications  of  non-violence  that  Mahatmaji  has 
set  before  us  are  new  to  us.  All  we  can  say  is  that  we 
feel  our  shortcomings  and  that  we  will  sincerely  strive 
and  spare  no  effort  to  overcome  them  and  reach  the  ideal 
that  has  been  placed  before  us.” 

Gandhiji  was  pleased  at  the  truthful  reply  of  the 
Khidmatgars.  “  Then  it  is  well  with  us,”  he  remarked  as 
he  took  leave  of  them. 


CHAPTER  VIII 

THE  TWO  GANDHIS  CONFER 

An  important  stage  in  Gandhiji’s  Frontier  mission 
was  reached  when  in  his  quiet  retreat  at  Utmanzai  he 
devoted  two  days  to  confabulate  and  compare  notes  with 
Badshah  Khan  after  his  tour  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
in  Peshawar  and  Mardan  Districts. 

“  What  is  your  impression  ?  ”  he  asked  Badshah  Khan. 
“  How  do  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  stand  with  regard  to 
non-violence  ?  ” 

“  My  impression,  Mahatmaji,”  replied  Badshah  Khan, 
“  is  that  as  they  themselves  admitted  before  us,  the  other 
day,  they  are  raw  recruits  and  fall  short  of  the  standard. 
There  is  violence  in  their  hearts  which  they  have  not  been 
able  altogether  to  cast  out.  They  have  their  defects  of 
temper.  But  there  is  no  doubt  as  to  their  sincerity.  Given 
a  chance  they  can  be  hammered  into  shape  and  I  think 
the  attempt  is  worthwhile.” 

Badshah  Khan  was  dreadfully  in  earnest.  He  was 
convinced  that  violence  had  been  the  bane  of  his  people. 
It  was  the  deadly  canker  that  was  eating  into  their  vitals 
and  was  responsible,  more  than  anything  else,  for  their 
downfall.  He  reverted  to  that  theme  later  in  the  course 
of  a  conversation  with  Gandhi ji.  He  was  describing  to  him 
the  natural  beauty  and  richness  of  the  country  around 
and,  as  is  usual  with  him  on  such  occasions,  was  in  an 
ecstacy.  But  his  brow  was  clouded  as  he  passed  on  from 
nature  to  ‘  what  man  unto  man  has  done  ’.  “  Mahatmaji, 
this  land,  so  rich  in  fruit  and  grain,  might  well  have  been 
a  smiling  little  Bden  upon  this  earth,  but  it  has  today 
fallen  under  a  blight.  •  My  conviction  is  daily  growing 
deeper  that  more  than  anything  else,  violence  has  been 
the  bane  of  us  Pathans  in  this  province.  It  shattered  our 
solidarity  and  tore  us  with  wretched  internal  feuds.  The 

.71 


72 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


entire  strength  of  the  Pathan  is  today  spent  in  thinking 
how  to  cut  the  throat  of  his  brother.  To  what  fruitful 
use  this  energy  might  not  be  put,  if  only  we  could  be  rid 
of  this  curse  ! 

“  Whatever  may  be  the  case  with  other  provinces,  I 
am  firmly  convinced  that  so  far  as  the  Frontier  Province 
is  concerned,  the  non-violence  movement  is  the  greatest 
boon  that  God  has  sent  to  us.  There  is  no  other  way  of 
salvation  for  the  Pathans  except  through  non-violence.  I 
say  this  from  experience  of  the  miraculous  transformation 
that  even  the  little  measure  of  non-violence  that  we  have 
attained  has  wrought  in  our  midst.  Mahatmaji,  we  used 
to  be  so  timid  and  indolent.  The  sight  of  an  Englishman 
would  frighten  us.  We  thought  nothing  of  wasting  our 
time  in  idleness.  Your  movement  has  instilled  fresh  life 
into  us  and  made  us  more  industrious  so  that  a  piece  of 
land  that  formerly  used  to  yield  hardly  ten  rupees  worth 
of  produce  now  produces  double  that  amount.  We  have 
shed  our  fear  and  are  no  longer  afraid  of  an  Englishman 
or,  for  the  matter  of  that,  of  any  man.” 

And  he  gave  an  instance  of  how  during  the  Civil  Dis¬ 
obedience  days  once  an  English  officer  accompanied  by  a 
body  of  soldiers  had  ordered  dispersal  of  a  procession  of 
the  Red  Shirts  which  they  had  organized.  He  had  a  prohi¬ 
bitory  order  under  section  144  in  his  pocket  but  would 
not  show  it  as  he  was  out  to  bully.  He  even  tried  to 
snatch  away  the  national  flag  which  a  Red  Shirt  who  was 
heading  the  procession  carried  in  his  hand.  But  the  latter 
would  not  surrender  it  whereupon  he  grew  wild  and 
shouted  out  the  order  ‘  fire  ’  to  his  soldiers.  But  he  was 
flabbergasted  by  the  calm  determination  of  the  Red  Shirts 
who  stood  fast  where  they  were,  >  ready  to  breast  the 
bullets.  He  had  not  the  courage  to  proceed  further. 
“  Mahatmaji,  you  should  have  seen  his  condition.  He 
could  hardly  speak.  I  tried  to  set'him  at  his  ease  by  tell¬ 
ing  him  that  unarmed  as  we  were,  he  had  nothing  to  fear 
from  us  and  that  if  he  had  only  produced  the  prohibitory 
order  at  the  outset  instead  of  trying  to  bear  us  down  by 
arrogance  and  stupidly  issuing  the  order  to  open  fire,  we 


THE  TWO  GANDHIS  CONFER 


73 


would  have  gladly  dispersed  as  it  was  not  our  intention  to- 
break  orders.  He  felt  thoroughly  crestfallen  and  ashamed. 
Englishmen  are  afraid  of  our  non-violence.  A  non-violent 
Pathan,  they  say,  is  more  dangerous  than  a  violent 
Pathan. 

“If  we  could  assimilate  and  put  into  practice  the 
whole  of  the  doctrine  of  non-violence  as  you  have  explain¬ 
ed  it  to  us,  how  much  stronger  and  better  off  we  should 
be.  We  were  on  the  brink  of  utter  ruination.  But  God 
in  His  mercy  sent  us  the  non-violence  movement  to  save 
us  in  our  extremity.  I  tell  my  people,  ‘  What  is  the  use 
of  your  shouting  empty  slogans  about  Swaraj  ?  You  have 
already  got  your  Swaraj  if  you  have  learnt  to  shed  all 
fear  and  to  earn  an  honest,  independent  living  through 
manual  work  as  shown  by  Mahatmaji.’  ” 

Gandhi ji  suggested  to  Badshah  Khan  that  if  non¬ 
violence  was  to  receive  a  fair  trial,  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars  must  be  prepared  to  go  through  a  rigorous  course  of 
training  in  constructive  non-violence  which  he  had  in 
mind  for  them.  Badshah  Khan  had  already  decided  to- 
establish  a  training  centre  and  home  for  the  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  in  the  village  of  Marwandi  near  Utmanzai. 
In  addition  to  it,  it  was  decided  to  start  a  spinning  and' 
weaving  centre  in  Utmanzai  itself,  where  the  people  at 
large,  who  were  not  necessarily  Khudai  Khidmatgars, 
would  learn  the  civilizing  and  peace-advancing  arts  of 
spinning,  weaving  and  the  allied  processes. 

“  My  idea,  Mahatmaji,”  Badshah  Khan  explained,  “  is 
to  make  Utmanzai  into  a  model  village.  The  spinning  and 
weaving  centre  will  serve  as  a  sort  of  permanent  exhibition 
for  the  education  of  the  villagers.  At  the  home  for  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  we  shall  set  before  us  the  self-sufficiency 
ideal.  We  shall  wear  only  the  clothes  that  we  ourselves 
produce,  eat  only  such  fruits  and  vegetables  as  we  raise- 
there  and  set  up  a  small  dairy  to  provide  us  with  milk. 
We  shall  deny  ourselves  what  we  cannot  ourselves  pro¬ 
duce.” 

“  Good,”  remarked  Gandhiji.  “  May  I  further  suggest 
that  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  should  take  their  due  share 


74  A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 

in  the  building  of  the  huts  too  that  are  to  house  them  ?  ” 

“  That  is  our  idea,”  replied  Badshah  Khan. 

To  train  the  first  batch  of  workers,  Gandhi ji  suggest¬ 
ed  that  some  Khudai  Khidmatgars  whom  Badshah  Khan 
might  select,  might  be  sent  to  Wardha,  where,  besides 
becoming  adepts  in  the  science  of  khadi,  they  would  also 
get  a  grounding  in  first-aid  and  hygiene,  sanitation  and 
village  uplift  work  and  in  Hindustani.  They  would  also 
be  initiated  there  into  the  Wardha  Scheme  of  education 
so  that  on  their  return  they  would  be  able  to  take  up  the 
work  of  mass  education.  “  But  your  work  will  not  make 
headway  unless  you  take  the  lead  and  yourself  become 
an  adept  in  all  these  things.”  Badshah  Khan  agreed. 
“  Lastly,”  said  Gandhi  ji,  “  your  work  will  come  to  nought 
unless  you  enforce  the  rule  of  punctuality  in  your  retreat. 
There  must  be  a  fixed  routine  and  fixed  hours  for  rising 
and  going  to  bed,  for  taking  meals  and  for  work  and  rest, 
and  they  must  be  rigorously  enforced.  I  attach  the  great¬ 
est  importance  to  punctuality  ;  it  is  a  corollary  to  non¬ 
violence.” 

They  next  proceeded  to  discuss  the  modus  operandi 
by  which  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars,  when  they  had  become 
sure  of  their  non-violence,  would  fulfil  their  mission  of 
coping  with  the  trans-border  raids.  Badshah  Khan  was 
of  the  opinion  that  the  task  was  rendered  infinitely  diffi¬ 
cult  by  the  presence  of  the  police  and  the  military  who 
were  not  fully  under  popular  control  and  whose  presence 
there  brought  in  all  the  evils  of  double  rule.  “  Either  the 
authorities  should  whole-heartedly  co-operate  with  us  or 
they  should  withdraw  the  police  and  the  military  from 
one  district  to  begin  with,  and  we  shall  then  undertake  to 
maintain  the  peace  of  that  district  through  our  Khudai 
Khidmatgars.”  He  was  afraid  that  unless  this  was  done, 
all  their  efforts  to  establish  peace  would  be  thwarted. 

But  Gandhiji  held  a  different  view.  He  remarked,  “  I 
frankly  confess  that  I  do  not  expect  the  authorities  whole¬ 
heartedly  to  co-operate  with  us.  They  would  distrust  our 
ability,  if  not  our  motive.  It  is  too  much  to  expect  them 


THE  TWO  GANDHIS  CONFER 


75 


to  withdraw  the  police  on  trust.  Non-violence  is  a  uni¬ 
versal  principle  and  its  operation  is  not  limited  by  a  hos¬ 
tile  environment.  Indeed  its  efficacy  can  be  tested  only 
when  it  acts  in  the  midst  of  and  in  spite  of  opposition. 
Our  non-violence  would  be  a  hollow  thing  and  nothing 
worth,  if  it  depended  for  its  success  on  the  goodwill  of 
the  authorities.  We  can  establish  full  control  over  the  peo¬ 
ple,  we  shall  render  the  police  and  the  military  innocuous.” 
And  he  described  to  Badshah  Khan  how  during  the 
Bombay  riots  on  the  occasion  of  the  Prince  of  Wales’  visit, 
the  police  and  the  military  found  their  job  gone  because 
the  Congress  immediately  regained  control  and  peace  was 
restored.* 

Badshah  Khan  :  “  But  the  difficulty  is  that  the  raid¬ 
ers  are  mostly  bad  characters,  who  have  absconded  from 
British  India.  We  cannot  make  contact  with  them  be¬ 
cause  the  authorities  won’t  permit  us  or  our  workers  to 
go  into  the  tribal  territory.” 

Gandhiji :  “  They  must,  and  I  tell  you  they  will  when 
we  are  fully  ready.  But  for  that  we  shall  need  to  have  a 
body  of  Khudai  Khidmatgars  who  are  really  and  truly 
servants  of  God,  with  whom  non-violence  is  a  living  faith. 
Non-violence  is  an  active  principle  of  the  highest  order. 
It  is  soul  force  or  the  power  of  the  Godhead  within  us. 
Imperfect  man  cannot  grasp  the  whole  of  that  Essence  — 
lie  would  not  be  able  to  bear  its  full  blaze  —  but  even  an 
infinitesimal  fraction  of  it  when  it  becomes  active  within 
us,  can  work  wonders.  The  sun  in  the  heavens  fills  the 
whole  universe  with  its  life-giving  warmth.  But  if  one 
went  too  near  it,  it  would  consume  him  to  ashes.  Even 
so.  it  is  with  the  Godhead.  We  become  Godlike  to  the 


*  In  1921  riots  broke  out  in  Bombay  on  the  occasion  of  the  Prince 
of  Wales’  visit,  which  the  Indian  National  Congress  had  boycotted 
in  pursuance  of  the  programme  of  non-violent  non-co-operation.  They 
took  a  communal  complexion  when  the  Parsees  refused  to  join  in 
the  boycott.  Gandhiji,  who  was  in  Bombay  at  that  time,  instead  of 
invoking  the  aid  of  the  police  or  the  military  to  restore  peace,  de¬ 
clared  a  limitless  fast.  As  a  result,  peace  returned  to  the  city  when 
he  had  fasted  for  three  days. 


76 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


extent  we  realize  non-violence  ;  but  we  can  never  become 
wholly  God.  Non-violence  is  like  radium  in  its  action.  An 
infinitesimal  quantity  of  it  imbedded  in  aT  malignant 
growth,  acts  continuously,  silently  and  ceaselessly  till  it 
has  transformed  the  whole  mass  of  the  diseased  tissue  into 
a  healthy  one.  Similarly,  even  a  tiny  grain  of  true  non¬ 
violence  acts  in  a  silent,  subtle,  unseen  way  and  leavens 
the  whole  society. 

“  It  is  self-acting.  The  soul  persists  even  after  death. 
Its  existence  does  not  depend  on  the  physical  body.  Simi¬ 
larly,  non-violence  or  soul  force,  too,  does  not  need  phy¬ 
sical  aids  for  its  propagation  or  effect.  It  acts  independently 
of  them.  It  transcends  time  and  space. 

“  It  follows,  therefore,  that  if  non-violence  becomes 
successfully  established  in  one  place,  its  influence  will 
spread  everywhere.  So  long  as  a  single  dacoity  takes  place 
in  Utmanzai,  I  shall  say  that  our  non-violence  is  not. 
genuine. 

“  The  basic  principle  on  which  the  practice  of  non¬ 
violence  rests  is  that  what  holds  good  in  respect  of  your¬ 
self  holds  good  equally  in  respect  of  the  whole  universe. 
All  mankind  in  essence  is  alike.  What  is,  therefore,  possi¬ 
ble  for  me  is  possible  for  everybody.  Pursuing  further 
this  line  of  reasoning,  I  came  to  the  conclusion  that  if  I 
could  find  a  non-violent  solution  of  the  various  problems- 
that  arise  in  one  particular  village,  the  lesson  learnt  from 
it  would  enable  me  to  tackle  in  a  non-violent  manner  all 
similar  problems  in  India. 

“  And  so  I  decided  to  settle  down  in  Sevagram.  My 
sojourn  in  Sevagram  has  been  an  education  for  me.  My 
experience  with  the  Harijans  has  provided  me  with  what 
I  regard  as  an  ideal  solution  for  the  Hindu-Muslim  pro¬ 
blem,  which  does  away  with  all  pacts.  So  if  you  can  set 
things  right  in  Utmanzai  your  whole  problem  would  be 
solved.  Even  our  relations  with  the  English  will  be  trans¬ 
formed  and  purified  if  we  can  show  to  them  that  we  really 
do  not  stand  in  need  of  the  protection  for  which  their 
police  and  the  army  are  ostensibly  kept.” 


THE  TWO  GANDHIS  CONFER 


77 


But  Badshah  Khan  had  a  doubt.  In  every  village 
there  is  an  element  of  self-seekers  and  exploiters  who  are 
ready  to  go  to  any  length  in  order  to  serve  their  selfish 
ends.  Could  one  proceed  by  ignoring  them  altogether  or 
should  an  attempt  be  made  to  cultivate  them  too  ? 

“  We  may  ultimately  have  to  leave  some  of  them  out,” 
replied  Gandhiji,  “  but  we  may  not  regard  anybody  as  irre¬ 
claimable.  We  should  try  to  understand  the  psychology 
of  the  evil-doer.  He  is  very  often  victim  of  his  circum¬ 
stances.  By  patience  and  sympathy,  we  shall  be  able  to 
win  over  at  least  some  of  them  to  the  side  of  justice.  More¬ 
over,  we  should  not  forget  that  even  evil  is  sustained 
through  the  co-operation,  either  willing  or  forced,  of  good. 
Truth  alone  is  self-sustained.  In  the  last  resort  we  can 
curb  the  power  of  the  evil-doers  to  do  mischief,  by  with¬ 
drawing  all  co-operation  from  them  and  completely  iso¬ 
lating  them. 

“  This  in  essence  is  the  principle  of  non-violent  non- 
co-operation.  It  follows,  therefore,  that  it  must  have  its 
root  in  love.  Its  object  should  not  be  to  punish  the  oppo¬ 
nent  or  to  inflict  injury  upon  him.  Even  while  non-co¬ 
operating  with  him,  we  must  make  him  feel  that  in  us 
he  has  a  friend  and  we  should  try  to  reach  his  heart  by 
rendering  him  humanitarian  service  whenever  possible. 
In  fact  it  is  the  acid  test  of  non-violence  that  a  non-violent 
conflict  leaves  no  rancour  behind,  and  in  the  end  the  ene¬ 
mies  are  converted  into  friends.  That  was  my  experience 
in  South  Africa  with  General  Smuts.  He  started  by  being 
my  bitterest  opponent  and  critic.  Today  he  is  my  warm¬ 
est  friend.  For  eight  years  we  were  ranged  on  opposite 
sides.  But  during  the  Second  Round  Table  Conference, 
it  was  he  *  who  stood  by  me  and,  in  public  as  well  as  in 
private,  gave  me  his  full  support.  This  is  only  one  in¬ 
stance  out  of  many  that  I  can  quote. 

“  Times  change  and  systems  decay.  But  it  is  my 
faith  that  in  the  result  it  is  only  non-violence  and  things 

*  General  Smuts  happened  to  be  present  in  London  at  that  time 
in  connection  with  the  Faraday  Centenary  celebrations  over  which 
he  presided. 


78 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


that  are  based  on  non-violence  that  will  endure.  Nine¬ 
teen  hundred  years  ago  Christianity  was  born.  The 
ministry  of  Jesus  lasted  only  for  three  brief  years.  His 
teaching  was  misunderstood  even  during  his  own  time, 
and  today’s  Christianity  is  a  denial  of  his  central  teaching 
—  “  Love  your  enemy  ”.  But  what  are  nineteen  hundred 
years  for  the  spread  of  the  central  doctrine  of  a  man’s 
teaching  ? 

“  Six  centuries  rolled  by  and  Islam  appeared  on  the 
scene.  Many  Mussulmans  will  not  even  allow  me  to  say 
that  Islam,  as  the  word  implies,  is  unadulterated  peace. 
My  reading  of  the  Quran  has  convinced  me  that  the  basis 
of  Islam  is  not  violence.  But  here  again  thirteen  hundred 
years  are  but  a  speck  in  the  cycle  of  Time.  I  am  convinced 
that  both  these  great  Faiths  will  live  only  to  the  extent 
to  which  their  followers  imbibe  the  central  teaching  of 
non-violence.  But  it  is  not  a  thing  to  be  grasped  through 
mere  intellect ;  it  must  sink  into  our  hearts.” 


CHAPTER  IX 

IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN 

After  a  brief  interlude  of  rest  at  Utmanzai  during 
which  Gandhi ji  was  engaged  in  hammering  out,  in  colla¬ 
boration  with  Badshah  Khan,  a  plan  for  the  reorientation, 
of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement  in  the  light  of  non¬ 
violence  which  he  had  been  explaining,  Gandhiji  resumed 
his  tour  of  the  Frontier  Province.  The  following  week 
was  devoted  to  a  strenuous  programme  in  the  Kohat, 
Bannu  and  Dera  Ismail  Khan  Districts.  Distances  to 
be  covered  every  day  grew  longer,  the  motor  runs  more 
fatiguing  and  the  crowds  noisier,  more  unwieldy  and  less 
disciplined  as  we  moved  away  and  southwards  from  the 
purely  Pushtu-speaking  Districts  of  Peshawar  and  Mar-, 
dan,  ‘  Red  Shirt  Districts  ’  as  they  are  sometimes  called 
owing  to  the  greater  concentration  of  the  Khudai  Khid¬ 
matgar  movement  there.  To  this  was  added  the  strain 
of  public  meetings.  They  had  to  be  addressed  in  all  the 
places  visited  ;  and  although  Gandhiji  would  have  prefer¬ 
red  to  reserve  his  speeches  exclusively  for  Khudai  Khid¬ 
matgar  gatherings,  he  had  to  yield  to  Badshah  Khan's 
pressure  and  relax  his  rule.  A  heavy  round  of  deputations 
at  Kohat  and  Bannu  completed  the  measure.  But  thanks 
to  the  salubrious  climate  of  the  Frontier  Province  at  that 
time  of  the  year  and  still  more  to  Badshah  Khan’s  unfail¬ 
ing  care,  Gandhiji  was  able  to  pull  through  all  that  un¬ 
scathed  and  continued  to  keep  fit. 

The  month  of  Ramzan  had  set  in.  To  spare  Badshah 
Khan  and  his  Khudai  Khidmatgars  the  strain  of  conduct¬ 
ing  the  tour  during  the  Ramzan  fast,  Gandhiji  had  suggest¬ 
ed  that  the  tour  programme  might  be  curtailed  or  its  pace 
accelerated.  But  Badshah  Khan  would  not  hear  of  it,  and 
he  and  his  team  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  continued  to 
perform  their  exacting  duties  as  unremittingly  as  ever, 
the  fast  notwithstanding.  At  Utmanzai  he  turned  his  entire 

79 


80 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


household  inside  out  to  cater  to  the  comfort  of  Gandhiji. 
He  drove  his  son  into  what  was  obviously  intended  to  be 
the  servants’  quarters  and  himself  slept  wherever  he 
could.  His  eye  was  never  off  Gandhiji  and  he  kept  con¬ 
stant  vigil  over  him  as  a  mother  lion  does  over  her  little 
cub.  One  should  have  seen  him  move  about  with  soft, 
cautious  steps  to  see  that  everything  was  all  right  while 
Gandhiji  slept.  Now  he  would  gently  adjust  over  Gan¬ 
dhiji  the  cloth  that  had  slipped  off,  or  with  his  kerchief 
whisk  off  flies  when  no  one  was  near,  and  then  as  un¬ 
obtrusively  glide  out  of  the  room  when  somebody  turned 
up  to  take  his  place.  He  ransacked  the  fruit  orchards  of 
friends  and  neighbours  to  fetch  for  Gandhiji  the  pick  of 
the  fruit.  It  was  a  sight  when  one  fine  morning,  he 
quietly  slipped  out  of  the  house  and  returned  after  several 
hours  with  a  big  bunch  of  early  grapes  which  he  served 
to  Gandhiji  with  his  own  hands  !  It  transpired  after¬ 
wards  that  he  had  gone  out  to  pay  a  casual  visit  to  the 
chief  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  at  the  latter’s  residence, 
some  two  or  three  miles  from  Utmanzai,  where  his  con¬ 
stant  concern  for  Gandhiji  led  him  to  spot  out  that  prize 
bunch  hidden  among  the  vine  clusters  !  This  was  just  an 
instance  of  the  delicate  attention  with  which  he  surround¬ 
ed  Gandhiji.  Before  leaving  for  Kohat  he  decided  to  have  a 
busful  of  his  seasoned  Khudai  Khidmatgars  to  accompany 
Gandhiji  during  the  rest  of  the  tour. 

Kohat  District  lies  in  the  heart  of  the  North  West 
Frontier  Province.  The  town  and  cantonment  of  Kohat 
which  occupy  the  western  portion  of  the  Kohat  tahsil  are 
forty  miles  drive  from  Peshawar,  part  of  the  road  lying 
through  the  independent  territory  of  the  Pass  Afridis. 
The  Kohat  Pass  is  not  so  long  as  the  Khyber.  The  Khyber 
has  been  variously  termed  “  murderous  high  road  ”, 
“  boulevard  of  sudden  death  ”  and  so  on.  The  sinister 
silence  of  its  narrow  defiles  strikes  one  with  awe.  It  is 
always  the  Khyber,  “  bold,  bloody  and  untamed,  unbeaten, 
triumphant  and  above  all  unpredictable  ”.  The  Kohat  Pass 
is  more  rugged,  more  inspiring  for  its  savage  beauty  and 


IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN 


81 


looks  less  sinister  than  the  Khyber.  Its  pinnacles  are  high¬ 
er,  its  rocks  red,  white  and  black,  bathed  in  sunlight,  more 
pleasing  to  the  eye,  while  the  magnificent  prospect  of 
richly  cultivated  valleys  dotted  with  lovely  little  adobe 
huts  that  spread  out  below  like  a  picture  touched  with 
amethyst  and  gold,  once  beheld,  can  never  be  forgotten. 

Badshah  Khan  was  in  raptures,  intoxicated  with  the 
keen  mountain  air  and  the  ravishing  beauty  of  the  land¬ 
scape.  He  would  not  suffer  any  one  to  remain  apathetic  in 
the  presence  of  such  natural  grandeur.  All  of  a  sudden 
he  exclaimed,  “  Look,  there  is  the  nidus  of  Ajab  Khan,” 
as  he  pointed  out  a  neat,  little  mud  hut  in  the  valley 
below.  “  Ajab  Khan,  the  adbuctor  of  Mollie  Ellis,*  noto¬ 
rious  outlaw,  who  paid  the  penalty  for  his  long  dossier  of 
crimes  on  a  frontier  gallows  ?  ”  I  asked,  mechanically 
repeating  remarks  which  I  had  picked  up  from  Mac- 
Munn.  Badshah  Khan  laughed.  “  Dead  !  Hanged  !  Why, 
he  is  still  alive  and  settled  somewhere  on  the  bor¬ 
der  of  Turkistan.  And  he  was  no  scoundrel  either.” 
And  with  that  he  told  the  whole  story  of  the  outlaw  as 
attested  to  by  eye-witnesses,  who  personally  knew 
all  the  parties  concerned.  The  story  may  or  may  not  be 
true  in  every  detail,  but  it  was  universally  believed  to  be 
authentic  by  the  Frontier  Pathans,  who  held  Ajab 
Khan  to  be  guiltless  of  Mrs.  Ellis’  blood,  and  Badshah 
Khan  sincerely  shared  that  conviction.  Ajab  Khan 
was  what  one  might  call  “  a  gun  runner  ”,  a  traffic¬ 
ker  in  unlicensed  arms.  His  house  was  raided  by 

Major  B . of  the  British  Army.  “You  may  do 

whatever  else  you  like,”  he  warned  the  search 
officer,  “  but  if  you  enter  the  zenana,  or  touch  the 
womenfolk,  there  will  be  a  score  to  settle.”  The  officer 
laughed  and  rudely  proceeded  to  unveil  the  ladies  in  the 

*  Daughter  of  Col.  Ellis  and  Mrs.  Ellis  was  abducted  by  Ajab 
Khan  and  his  men  as  vendetta  against  an  allegyd  affront  to  the  ladies 
of  Ajab  Khan’s  family.  Mrs.  Ellis  was  murdered  at  the  same  time. 
Mollie  Ellis  was  later  contacted  by  Mrs.  Starr,  the  widow  of  Dr. 
Starr,  and  recovered  with  the  help  of  some  local  Maliks  (tribal 
chiefs) . 


P-6 


82 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


zenana.  The  outlaw  proved  as  good  as  his  word.  He 
settled  the  score  in  the  only  way  known  to  Pathans. 
Automatically,  I  remembered  the  remarks  of  a  well-known 
writer  on  the  Frontier  tribes  :  “In  this  country  a  blow 
to  a  man,  an  insult  to  a  woman,  has  only  one  result  — 

death.  Under  no  condition  is  there  any  reprieve . 

If  a  man  comes  across  his  enemy  asleep  or  sick  that  does 
not  save  him . A  blood-feud  never  ends.”  I  re¬ 

peated  the  words  to  Badshah  Khan  ;  Bhadshah  Khan  went 
on  :  “  And  how  did  Ajab  Khan  treat  Miss  Ellis  while  she 
was  in  his  custody  ?  Ask  anybody,  she  herself  attested 
to  it.  No  white  man  in  Ajab  Khan’s  place  would  have  res¬ 
pected  her  honour  more.” 

The  programme  at  Kohat  was  a  crowded  one  and 
left  little  time  for  paying  a  visit  to  its  famous  hot  and  cold 
springs,  or  to  do  more  than  passing  justice  to  the  lovely 
mountains  by  which  the  city  is  begirt.  Numerous  depu¬ 
tations  met  Gandhiji  in  the  course  of  the  day.  There  was 
the  deputation  on  behalf  of  the  Kohat  Loan  Relief  Com¬ 
mittee.  They  wanted  the  loans  granted  for  the  relief 
of  victims  of  arson  and  loot  during  the  communal  out¬ 
breaks  of  1924  to  be  written  off  according  to  the  oft- 
repeated  promises.  There  was  another  deputation  on  be¬ 
half  of  the  cultivators  who  stated  their  grievance  about  • 
the  ‘  terig  dues  ’,  still  another  deputation  on  behalf  of  the 
Harijans  and  yet  another  from  the  Sikhs.  There  was  be¬ 
sides  a  whole  sheet  of  written  complaints  and  appeals 
which  various  people  had  placed  in  his  hands  “  to  be  con¬ 
veyed  to  the  Prime  Minister  ”.  Gandhiji,  whilst  assuring 
them  of  his  sympathy,  told  them  that  he  would  discuss  all 
those  matters  with  the  Prime  Minister  on  returning  to 
Peshawar. 

A  public  meeting  was  held  in  the  evening  at  a  lovely 
spot  outside  the  city  overlooked  by  a  natural  amphitheatre 
of  hills  that  engirdled  the  city  almost  completely.  Gandhiji 
was  presented  with  an  address  by  the  District  Congress 
Committee  on  behalf  of  the  citizens  of  Kohat.  Referring 
to  the  various  representations  that  he  had  received  in  the 
course  of  the  day,  Gandhiji  in  his  reply  to  the  address 


IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN 


83 


said,  “  I  have  given  more  than  an  hour  today  to  acquaint 
myself  with  your  difficulties  and  woes.  But  I  confess  to 
you  that  I  am  no  longer  fit  to  tackle  such  matters.  While 
on  the  one  hand,  old  age  is  slowly  creeping  upon  me,  on 
the  other  my  responsibilities  are  becoming  more  and  more 
multifarious  and  there  is  the  danger  that  if  I  have  too 
many  irons  in  the  fire,  I  may  not  be  able  to  do  justice  to 
the  more  important  of  my  responsibilities.  Among  these, 
the  responsibility  that  I  have  undertaken  in  respect  of 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  is  the  most  important.  If  I  can 
discharge  it  to  my  satisfaction,  in  collaboration  with  Bad- 
shah  Khan,  I  shall  feel  that  my  closing  years  have  not 
been  wasted. 

“  People  laugh  at  me  and  at  the  idea  of  Khudai  Khid¬ 
matgars’  becoming  full-fledged  non-violent  soldiers  of 
Swaraj.  But  their  mockery  does  not  affect  me.  Non-vio¬ 
lence  is  a  quality  not  of  the  body  but  of  the  soul.  Once 
its  central  meaning  sinks  into  your  being,  all  the  rest  fol¬ 
lows  by  itself.  Human  nature  in  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
is  not  different  from  mine.  And  I  am  sure  that  if  I  can 
practise  non-violence  to  some  extent,  they  and  for  that 
matter  any  one  can.  I  therefore  invite  you  to  pray  with 
me  to  the  Almighty  that  He  may  make  real  my  dream 
about  the  Kudhai  Khidmatgars.” 

One  of  the  most  difficult  problems  of  Gandhiji  was 
to  bring*  home  to  the  warlike  Pathans  the  significance  of 
constructive  work  in  terms  of  non-violence  and  how  it 
could  be  made  dynamic.  In  Civil  Disobedience  there  was 
at  least  the  element  of  defiance  to  provide  kudos.  But 
constructive  work  was  to  them  like  green  meat  to  a  pan¬ 
ther.  Gandhiji,  therefore,  gave  a  series  of  addresses  to 
elucidate  the  relation  between  constructive  work  and  the 
power  of  non-violence. 

In  the  course  of  his  talk  before  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gar  officers  at  Kohat,  he  impressed  upon  them  the  tremen¬ 
dous  nature  of  the  step  which  they  had  taken.  He  had 
often  said  before  that  if  the  Pathan,  famed  in  the  world 
for  the  prowess  of  his  arms,  really  took  to  non-violence, 


84 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


renouncing  arms,  it  would  be  a  red  letter  day  in  the  his¬ 
tory  of  India  and  the  world.  “  For  good  or  for  ill,  the 
Pathan  today  has  come  to  be  regarded  as  a  bogey-man  by 
the  average  person  in  India.  In  Gujarat  and  Kathiawad 
children  turn  pale  at  the  very  mention  of  the  Pathan.  At 
Sabarmati  Ashram,  we  try  to  inculcate  fearlessness 
among  the  children.  But  I  am  ashamed  to  confess  that 
in  spite  of  all  our  efforts  we  have  not  succeeded  in  making 
them  eradicate  the  fear  of  the  Pathan  from  their  hearts. 
I  have  not  been  able  to  impress  upon  our  Ashram  girls 
that  they  have  no  need  to  fear  a  Pathan.  They  try  to 
make  a  show  of  bravery.  But  it  is  only  a  make-believe. 
During  a  communal  disturbance  they  dare  not  stir  out 
of  their  homes  if  there  is  a  report  of  even  a  casual  Pathan 
being  about.  They  are  afraid  they  would  be  kidnapped. 

“  I  tell  them  that  even  if  they  are  kidnapped  they 
must  not  be  frightened.  They  should  appeal  to  the  kid¬ 
napper’s  sense  of  honour  to  behave  chivalrously  towards 
one  who  should  be  as  a  sister  to  him.  If  in  spite  of  their 
entreaties  he  persists  in  his  evil  intentions,  (since  all  must 
die  some  day),  they  can  put  an  end  to  their  life  by  biting 
the  tongue  but  not  submit.  They  answer,  ‘  What  you  say 
is  right.  But  it  is  all  new  to  us.  We  have  not  the  confi¬ 
dence  that  at  the  proper  time  we  shall  be  able  to  do  what 
you  tell  us.’  If  such  is  the  case  with  the  Ashram  girls, 
what  must  it  be  with  others  ?  When,  therefore,  I  hear 
that  a  body  of  Khidmatgars  has  arisen  among  the  Pathans, 
who  have  completely  renounced  violence,  I  do  not  know 
whether  to  believe  it  or  not.” 

“  What  are  the  implications  of  renouncing  violence 
and  what  is  the  mark  of  a  person  who  has  renounced  vio¬ 
lence  ?  ”  he  next  asked.  One  did  not  become  a  Khudai 
Khidmatgar  by  adopting  that  name  or  by  putting  on  the 
Khudai  Khidmatgar’s  uniform,  he  told  them.  It  needed 
systematic  training  in  non-violence.  In  Europe  where 
they  had  glorified  killing  into  a  noble  profession  they 
spent  millions  on  perfecting  the  science  of  destruction. 
Their  best  scientists  were  pressed  into  its  service.  Even 
their  educational  system  was  centred  on  it.  They  spent 


/ 


A  POSER  AT  A  PATHAN  GATHERING 
‘  Where  is  your  promised  independence  ?  ” 

p.  138. 


IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN 


85 


stupendous  sums  too  on  luxuries  and  means  of  physical 
comforts,  which  formed  a  part  of  their  ideal.  By  contrast, 
the  mark  of  a  man  of  God  or  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar  should 
be  purity,  industry,  and  unremitting  hard  labour  in  the 
service  of  God’s  creation.  “  In  the  course  of  serving  your 
fellow  creatures  you  will  get  a  measure  of  the  progress 
you  have  made  in  non-violence  and  of  the  power  that  is 
in  non-violence.  Armed  with  this  power,  a  single  person 
can  stand  against  the  whole  world.  That  is  not  possible 
with  the  sword.” 

Hitherto,  non-violence  had  been  synonymous  with 
civil  breach  of  laws  and  taking  the  penalty  for  the  same 
non-violently.  But  he  wished  to  tell  them  that,  although 
Civil  Disobedience  was  included  in  the  programme  of  non¬ 
violence,  its  essence,  as  he  had  pointed  out  at  Swabi,  was 
the  moral  right  or  fitness  which  it  presupposed  in  the 
civil  resister  and  which  accrued  to  one  who  trained  him¬ 
self  in  the  practice  of  non-violence.  In  Satyagraha  fight 
“  Civil  Disobedience  is  the  end,  not  the  beginning.  It  is 
the  last  step,  not  the  first.”  People  used  to  have  a  craven 
fear  of  the  Government.  As  a  remedy,  he  had  prescribed 
Satyagraha  or  Civil  Disobedience.  It  was  a  sharp  medicine. 
“  Unless  a  physician,  who  administers  powerful  drugs, 
knows  exactly  when  to  stop,  he  loses  his  patient.  That 
is  why  I  promptly  called  off  Civil  Disobedience,  confining 
it  to  myself  alone  when  the  situation  demanded  it.*  It 
was  just  in  time.  So  I  would  like  you,  for  the  time  being, 
to  forget  Civil  Disobedience.” 

He  next  proceeded  to  explain  that  service  of  God  could 
only  be  performed  through  service  of  His  creatures.  He 

*  In  April,  1934,  Gandhiji  advised  all  Congressmen  to  suspend 
Civil  Disobedience  for  Swaraj  as  distinguished  from  Civil  Disobe¬ 
dience  for  specific  grievances.  The  decision  resulted  from  the  dis¬ 
covery  that  civil  resistance  had  not  touched  the  hearts  either  of  the 
terrorists  or  of  the  rulers  as  a  class  owing  to  the  “  adulteration  ” 
of  its  message  in  the  process  of  transmission.  Thereafter,  Civil 
Disobedience,  for  achieving  Swaraj,  was  to  be  confined  to  himself 
alone,  the  rank  and  file  were  to  resume  it  during  his  life-time  only 
under  his  directions  and  in  the  meantime  to  devote  their  time  to 
self-purification,  self-discipline  and  nation-building  activities. 


86 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


had  made  it  his  habit  to  try  to  see  always  the  hand  of 
God  in  everything  even  at  the  risk  of  being  considered 
superstitious.  Thus,  he  saw  the  hand  of  God  in  the  name 
that  Badshah  Khan  had  given  them.  Badshah  Khan  had 
not  called  them  Satyagrahis  but  Servants  of  God. 

“  But  how  to  serve  God  since  He  is  incorporate  and 
needs  no  personal  service  ?  We  can  serve  Him  by  ser¬ 
ving  His  creation.  There  is  an  Urdu  verse  which  says  : 
‘  Man  can  never  be  God  but  in  essence  he  is  not  different 
from  Divinity.’  Let  us  make  our  village  our  universe.  We 
shall  then  serve  God  by  serving  our  village.  To  relieve 
the  distress  of  the  unemployed  by  providing  them  work, 
to  tend  the  sick,  to  wean  people  from  their  insanitary 
habits,  to  educate  them  in  cleanliness  and  healthy  living 
should  be  the  job  of  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar.  And  since 
whatever  he  does  is  in  God’s  service,  his  service  will  be 
performed  with  far  more  diligence  and  care  than  that  of 
paid  workers.” 

He  ended  by  giving  a  few  practical  hints  as  to  how 
to  cultivate  non-violent  strength.  “  A  Khudai  Khidmat¬ 
gar  will  keep  a  strict  account  of  every  minute  of  his  time 
which  he  will  regard  as  God’s  trust.  To  waste  a  single 
moment  of  one’s  time  in  idleness  or  frivolity  is  a  sin 
against  God.  It  is  on  a  par  with  stealing.  If  there  is 
even  a  tiny  little  bit  of  land  available,  he  will  occupy  him¬ 
self  with  growing  something  on  it  —  food  or  vegetables  for 
the  destitute  and  needy.  If  he  should  feel  inclined  to  sit 
idle  and  do  nothing  because  his  parents  have  enough 
money  to  enable  him  to  purchase  food  and  vegetables  from 
the  bazar,  he  will  argue  to  himself  that  by  drawing  upon 
the  bazar  supplies,  he  deprives  the  poor  of  the  same  and 
steals  what  belongs  to  God.  Before  he  purchases  or  uses 
anything,  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar  will  ask  himself  whether 
there  is  not  somebody  else  whose  need  may  be  greater 
than  his.  Supposing  somebody  places  a  sumptuous  dish 
before  him  and  a  starving  person  appears  on  the  scene,  he 
will  think  of  the  latter’s  need  first,  feed  him  and  then  alone 
partake  of  the  dish.” 


IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN 


87 


Twenty-six  miles  to  the  west  of  Kohat,  as  the  road 
goes,  is  Hungoo,  the  headquarters  of  the  tahsil  of  that 
name.  Gandhiji  visited  it  on  the  following  day.  The  wea¬ 
ther  was  glorious  and  the  distant  mountains  shone  bright 
and  clear  through  the  dry  transparent  air.  The  hillsides, 
mostly  composed  of  red  rubble,  were  overgrown  with 
scrub  and  alive  with  countless  herds  of  goats  and  fat-tailed 
sheep  that  were  scattered  as  far  as  the- eye  could  reach 
and  filled  the  air  with  their  plaintive  bleating.  At  Hungoo 
there  was  a  public  meeting  and  an  address.  In  the  address 
there  was  a  remark  that  the  Frontier  Province  held  the 
key  to  India’s  freedom.  Gandhiji  in  his  speech  while 
agreeing  with  that  remark  added  that  in  the  Frontier 
Province  again  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  held  the  key. 
“Even  as  the  rose  fills  with  its  sweet  fragrance  all  the 
air  around,  when  one  lakh  Khudai  Khidmatgars  become 
truly  non-violent,  their  fragrance  will  permeate  the  en¬ 
tire  length  and  breadth  of  the  country  and  cure  the  evil 
of  slavery  with  which  we  are  afflicted.” 

At  Hungoo,  as  at  Kohat,  Gandhiji  gave  important 
talks  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  in  which  he  explained 
to  them  in  minute  detail  the  inner  nature,  working  and 
quality  of  non-violence  and  the  way  in  which  a  begin¬ 
ning  could  be  made  for  developing  it  in  the  individual. 

He  referred  to  an  address  of  welcome  that  had  been 
presented  to  him  at  Nasarat  Khel  on  the  way,  at  the 
foundation  laying  ceremony  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars’ 
office.  In  it  there  was  a  reference  to  “  our  last  struggle  ”. 
“  Let  me  tell  you,”  he  remarked,  “  that  Civil  Disobedience 
may  come  and  go,  but  our  non-violent  struggle  for  free¬ 
dom  goes  on  and  will  continue  till  Independence  is  at¬ 
tained.  Only  the  form  has  changed.” 

The  other  thing  mentioned  in  that  address  was  that 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  had  not  been  cowed  down  by 
repression  and  never  would  be.  “  I  know,”  said  Gandhiji, 
“  that  to  90  per  cent  Indians,  non-violence  means  that 
and  nothing  else.  « It  is  good  so  far.  There  is  bravery  in 
it.  But  you  and  particularly  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar 
officers  must  clearly  understand  that  this  is  not  the  whole 


88 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


of  non-violence.  If  you  have  really  understood  the  meaning 
of  non-violence,  it  should  be  clear  to  you  that  non-violence 
is  not  a  principle  or  a  virtue  to  be  brought  into  play  on  a 
particular  occasion  or  to  be  practised  with  reference  to 
a  particular  party  or  section.  It  has  to  become  a  part  and 
parcel  of  our  being.  Anger  should  disappear  from  our 
hearts  altogether,  otherwise  what  is  the  difference  be¬ 
tween  ourselves  and  our  oppressors  ?  Anger  may  lead 
one  person  to  issue  an  order  to  open  fire,  another  to  use 
abusive  language,  a  third  one  to  use  the  lathi.  At  root 
it  is  all  the  same.  It  is  only  when  you  have  become  in¬ 
capable  of  feeling  or  harbouring  anger  in  your  hearts  that 
you  can  claim  to  have  shed  violence  or  can  expect  to  re¬ 
main  non-violent  to  the  end.” 

He  then  proceeded  to  explain  the  difference  between 
Civil  Disobedience  and  Satyagraha.  “  Our  Civil  Disobe¬ 
dience  or  non-co-operation,  by  its  very  nature,  was  not 
meant  to  be  practised  for  all  time.  But  the  fight  which 
we  are  today  putting  up  through  our  constructive  non¬ 
violence  has  a  validity  for  all  time  ;  it  is  the  real  thing. 
Supposing  the  Government  were  to  cease  to  arrest  civil 
resisters,  our  jail  going  would  then  stop  but  that  would 
not  mean  that  our  fight  is  over.  A  civil  resister  does  not 
go  to  jail  to  embarrass  the  jail  authorities  by  indulging 
in  the  breach  of  jail  rules.  Of  course,  there  can  be  Civil 
Disobedience  in  jail  too.  But  there  are  definite  rules  for  it. 
The  point  is  that  the  civil  resister’s  fight 'does  not  end 
with  his  imprisonment.  Once  we.  are  inside  the  prison 
we  become  civilly  dead  so  far  as  the  outside  world  is  con¬ 
cerned.  But  inside  the  prison  our  fight  to  convert  the 
hearts  of  the  Government’s  bond  slaves,  i.e.,  the  jail  offi¬ 
cials,  just  begins.  It  gives  us  a  chance  of  demonstrating 
to  them  that  we  are  not  like  thieves  or  dacoits,  that  we 
wish  them  no  ill,  nor  do  we  want  to  destroy  the  opponent 
but  want  only  to  make  him  our  friend,  not  by  servilely 
obeying  all  orders,  just  or  unjust  —  that*  is  not  the  way 
to  win  true  friendship  —  but  by  showing  them  that  there 
is  no  evil  in  us,  that  we  sincerely  wish  them  well  and  in 
our  hearts  pray  that  God’s  goodness  may  be  upon  them. 


IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN 


89 


My  fight  continued  even  when  I  was  lodged  behind  prison- 
bars.  I  have  been  several  times  in  prison  and  every  time 
I  have  left  only  friends  behind  in  the  jail  officials  and 
others  with  whom  I  have  come  in  contact. 

“  It  is  a  speciality  of  non-violence  that  its  action  never 
stops.  That  cannot  be  said  of  the  sword  or  the  bullet. 
The  bullet  can  destroy  the  enemy  ;  non-violence  converts 
the  enemy  into  a  friend  and  thus  enables  the  civil  resister 
to  assimilate  to  himself  the  latter’s  strength.” 

By  their  Civil  Disobedience  struggle,  he  continued, 
they  had  demonstrated  to  the  wmrld  their  determination- 
no  longer  to  be  ruled  by  the  British.  But  they  had  now 
to  give  proof  of  valour  of  another  and  higher  type.  During 
the  Khilafat  days  tall,  hefty  Pathan  soldiers  used  to  come 
and  meet  the  Ali  Brothers  and  himself  secretly.  They  used 
to  tremble  at  the  thought  of  their  visit  being  discovered 
by  their  superior  officers  and  resulting  in  their  dismissal 
from  service.  In  spite  of  their  tall  stature  and  physical 
strength  they  used  to  cower  and  become  servile  when 
confronted  by  a  person  physically  stronger  than  they. 
“  I  want  strength  which  will  enable  me  to  submit  to  none 
but  God,  my  sole  Lord  and  Master.  It  is  only  when  I  can  do 
that  that  I  can  claim  to  have  realized  non-violence.” 

He  then  proceeded  to  expatiate  on  another  speciality 
of  non-violence,  viz.,  one  need  not  go  to  a  school  or  a 
pir  *  or  a  guru  to  learn  its  use.  Its  virtue  lay  in  its  simpli¬ 
city.  If  they  realized  that  it  was  the  most  active  principle 
that  worked  all  the  twenty-four  hours  without  rest  or 
remission,  they  would  look  for  opportunities  for  its  appli¬ 
cation  in  their  homes,  in  the  streets,  in  relation  to  their 
foes  no  less  than  friends.  They  could  begin  to  practise  it 
in  their  homes  from  that  very  day.  He  had  disciplined 
himself  sufficiently  never  to  feel  angry  with  the  enemy, 
but  he  confessed  that  he  sometimes  lost  temper  with 
friends.  Such  discipline  in  non-violence  as  he  had,  he 
told  them,  he  had  at  home  from  his  wife.  And  with  that 
he  unfolded  in  poignant  detail  a  chapter  of  his  domestic 


*  A  Muslim  spiritual  teacher. 


90 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


life.  He  used  to  be  a  tyrant  at  home,  he  said.  His  tyranny 
was  the  tyranny  of  love.  “  I  used  to  let  loose  my  anger 
upon  her.  But  she  bore  it  all  meekly  and  uncomplain¬ 
ingly.  I  had  a  notion  that  it  was  her  duty  to  obey  me,  her 
lord  and  master,  in  everything.  But  her  unresisting  meek¬ 
ness  opened  my  eyes  and  slowly  it  began  to  dawn  upon 
me  that  I  had  no  such  prescriptive  right  over  her.  If  I 
wanted  her  obedience,  I  had  first  to  persuade  her  by 
patient  argument.  She  thus  became  my  teacher  in  non¬ 
violence.  And  I  dare  say,  I  have  not  had  a  more  loyal  and 
faithful  comrade  in  life.  I  literally  used  to  make  life  a 
hell  for  her.  Every  other  day  I  would  change  my  resi¬ 
dence,  prescribe  what  dress  she  was  to  wear.  She  had 
been  brought  up  in  an  orthodox  family  where  untouch- 
abiiity  was  observed.  Muslims  and  untouchables  used  to 
frequent  our  house.  I  made  her  serve  them  all  regardless 
of  her  innate  reluctance.  But  she  never  said  ‘  no  ’.  She 
was  not  educated  in  the  usual  sense  of  the  term  and  was 
simple  and  unsophisticated.  Her  guileless  simplicity  con¬ 
quered  me  completely.” 

“  You  have  all  wives,  mothers  and  sisters  at  home,” 
continued  Gandhi ji.  “  You  can  take  the  lesson  of  non¬ 
violence  from  them.  You  must  besides  take  the  vow  of 
truth,  ask  yourselves  how  dear  truth  is  to  you  and  how 
iar  you  observe  it  in  thought,  word  and  deed.  A  person 
who  is  not  truthful  is  far  away  from  non-violence.  Un¬ 
truth  itself  is  violence.” 

Referring  to  the  month  of  Ramzan  that  had  just  set 
in,  he  told  them  how  it  could  be  used  to  make  a  start  in 
non- violence.  “We  seem  to  think  that  the  observance  of 
Ramzan  begins  and  ends  with  abstention  from  food  and 
•drink.  We  think  nothing  of  losing  temper  over  trifles  or 
indulging  in  abuse  during  the  sacred  month  of  Ramzan. 
If  there  is  the  slightest  delay  in  serving  the  repast  at 
the  time  of  the  breaking  of  the  fast,  the  poor  wife  is  hauled 
over  live  coals.  I  do  not  call  it  observing  the  Ramzan, 
hut  its  travesty.  If  you  really  want  to  cultivate  non-vio¬ 
lence,  you  should  take  a  pledge  that  come  what  may,  you 
will  not  give  way  to  anger  or  order  about  members  of 


IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN 


91 


your  household  or  lord  it  over  them.  You  can  thus 
utilize  trifling  little  occasions  in  everyday  life  to  cultivate 
non-violence  in  your  own  person  and  teach  it  to  your 
children.” 

He  took  another  instance.  Suppose  somebody  hit 
their  child  with  a  stone.  Usually  the  Pathan  tells  his 
child  not  to  return  home  to  whine  but  to  answer  back  with 
a  bigger  stone.  But  a  votary  of  non-violence,  said  Gan- 
dhiji,  would  tell  his  child  not  to  meet  a  stone  by  a  stone 
but  by  embracing  the  boy  who  threw  the  stone  and 
making  friends  with  him.  “  The  same  formula,  i.  e.,  to 
banish  anger  completely  from  the  heart  and  to  make 
everybody  into  one’s  friend,  is  indeed  enough  to  win  India 
her  Independence,”  he  concluded.  “It  is  the  surest  and 
the  quickest  way,  too,  and -it  is  my  claim  that  for  winning 
Independence  for  the  poor  masses  of  India,  it  is  the  only 
way.” 


CHAPTER  X 

“  THE  WILD  VALLEY  ”  OF  BANNU 

Bannu  was  reached  after  an  eighty  miles’  motor 
drive.  In  all  important  villages  on  the  way  people  had 
erected  arches  of  green  plantain  stems  and  tree  leaves  and 
beflagged  the  approaches  to  the  villages  to  accord  Gan- 
dhiji  a  welcome.  For  eight  miles  on  this  side  of  Bannu 
Red  Shirts  posted  at  regular  intervals  interspersed  with 
knots  of  Waziris,  Bhittanis  and  Orakzais,  lined  the  route. 
Their  flowing  robes,  loose  baggy  pyjamas,  camels  and 
native  matchlocks  which  they  carried  on  their  shoulders- 
lent  a  bizarre  effect  to  the  reception  which  was  enlivened 
by  the  playing  of  surnais  and  the  beating  of  drums. 

Bannu  is  a  walled  town.  It  was  still  under  the  shadow 
of  a  recent  raid  which,  by  the  peculiar  circumstances  ac¬ 
companying  it,  had  at  that  time  startled  the  whole  of  India.. 
A  party  of  raiders  numbering  between  100  and  250  had 
marched  one  evening  at  about  7-30  p.  m.  into  the  city 
through  one  of  the  city  gates,  which  they  either  forced 
or  got  opened  by  the  sentries  on  duty.  They  looted  shops 
while  the  town  was  still  awake,  fired  joy  shots,  smashing 
municipal  electric  lamps  as  they  advanced,  and  set  a 
number  of  shops  on  fire.  Yet,  strange  to  say,  they  met 
with  no  resistance  from  the  police  and  made  their  exit  as 
openly  as  they  had  come  in,  carrying  away  with  them 
booty  which  was  variously  estimated  at  one  to  over  three 
lakhs  of  rupees.  Several  people  were  killed  during  the 
raid. 

According  to  an  official  statement,  22  raids  by  tribes 
on  the  North-Western  Frontier  had  occurred  in  Bannu 
and  other  places  in  British  Indian  territory  during  the 
three  months  preceding  this  raid.  Thirteen  Hindus  and 
Muslims  had  been  killed.  The  value  of  cash  and  property 
looted  amounted  to  Rs.  1,33,830.  Following  upon  the  raid, 
about  a  dozen  Hindus  had  been  kidnapped. 

92 


in  their  mutual  dealings. 


“THE  WILD  VALLEY”  OF  BANNU 


93 


In  the' course  of  the  day,  Gandhiji  was  met  by  a  depu¬ 
tation  on  behalf  of  the  Citizens’  Defence  Committee  and 
another  on  behalf  of  the  Sufferers’  Relief  Committee.  A 
group  of  Waziri  tribesmen  and  some  of  the  bereaved 
relations  of  kidnapped  persons  from  Pahar  Khel  and 
Jhandu  Khel  also  met  him  and  narrated  to  him  their  tales 
•of  woe.  One  of  them  had  his  wife  killed  and  a  near  rela¬ 
tion  kidnapped  ;  another  had  his  mother  and  uncle  carried 
away  by  the  raiders  who  demanded  heavy  ransom  which 
he  was  unable  to  pay.  A  glimpse  of  the  consternation 
under  which  the  people  of  Bannu  seemed  perpetually  to 
live  was  afforded  at  the  public  meeting  that  was  held  to 
present  Gandhiji  with  an  address  of  welcome.  The  loud¬ 
speaker  went  out  of  order.  Thereupon  Gandhiji  asked 
the  people  who  were  far  away  from  the  dais  to  move  a 
little  nearer.  This  gave  rise  to  a  mild  rush  which  in  its 
turn  caused  a  stampede  among  the  women  who  mistook 
the  harmless  rush  for  a  danger  signal ! 

Gandhiji’s  speech  was  his  weightiest  public  utterance 
•during  the  tour.  In  it  he  gave  his  considered  opinion  on 
the  various  alternative  remedies  for  the  trans-border  raids 
and  presented  his  prescription  of  non-violent  approach  as 
the  only  sure  and  permanent  remedy. 

“  The  recent  raid  of  Bannu  and  the  happenings  during 
the  raid  have  touched  me  deeply,”  he  began.  “This  pro¬ 
vince  is  peculiarly  placed  and  is  different  from  the  other 
provinces  inasmuch  as,  on  one  side,  it  is  bounded  by  a 
number  of  border  tribes  containing  men  whose  profession 
is  raiding.  So  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  know  they  are 
not  actuated  by  communal  considerations.  The  raiders’ 
motive  seems  to  be  satisfaction  of  primary  needs.  That 
the  Hindus  are  more  often  their  victims  is  probably  due 
to  the  fact  that  they  generally  possess  more  money.  The 
kidnappings  too  appear  to  have  the  same  motive. 

“  Continuation  of  the  raids  is  in  my  opinion  a  proof 
of  British  failure  in  this  part  of  India.  Their  Frontier 
policy  has  cost  the  country  crores  of  rupees,  and  thousands 
of  lives  have  been  sacrificed.  The  brave  tribesmen  still 


94 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


remain  unsubdued.  If  all  the  accounts  I  have  heard  to¬ 
day  are  substantially  correct,  and  I  believe  they  are,  life 
and  property  are  not  secure  in  most  parts  of  this  pro¬ 
vince. 

“  A  number  of  people  whose  relations  or  dear  ones 
have  either  been  killed  or  kidnapped  and  held  to  ransom 
by  the  raiders,  saw  me  today.  As  I  listened  to  the  har¬ 
rowing  tales  of  distress,  my  heart  went  out  to  them  in. 
sympathy.  But  I  must  confess  to  you  that  with  all  the 
will  in  the  world,  I  possess  no  magic  spell  by  which  I 
could  restore  them  to  their  families.  Nor  should  you  ex¬ 
pect  much  from  the  Government  or  the  Congress  Ministry. 
No  Government  can  afford,  and  the  present  British  Gov¬ 
ernment  lacks  even  the  will,  to  mobilize  its  military  re¬ 
sources  every  time  one  of  its  subjects  is  kidnapped,  unless 
the  person  kidnapped  happens  to  belong  to  the  ruling  race. 

“  After  studying  all  the  facts,  I  have  gained  the  im¬ 
pression  that  the  situation  in  respect  of  border  raids  has 
grown  worse  since  the  inauguration  of  Congress  Govern¬ 
ment.  The  Congress  Ministers  have  no  effective  control 
over  the  police,  none  over  the  military.  The  Congress 
Ministry  in  this  province  has  less  than  the  others.  I  there¬ 
fore  feel  that  unless  Dr.  Khan  Saheb  can  cope  with  the 
question  of  the  raids,  it  might  be  better  for  him  to  tender 
his  designation.  There  is  danger  of  the  Congress  losing 
its  prestige  in  this  province  if  the  raids  continue  to  in¬ 
crease.  Apart  from  my  opinion,  you  have  to  say  for  your¬ 
selves  whether  in  spite  of  the  handicaps  I  have  mentioned, 
you  would  rather  have  the  Congress  Ministry  or  some 
other.  After  all,  the  Prime  Minister  is  your  servant.  He 
holds  office  under  the  triple  sufferance  of  his  electorate, 
the  Provincial  Congress  Committee  and  the  Working 
Committee. 

“  Some  of  those  who  met  me  today  asked  me  if  they 
could  seek  safety  by  migrating  from  the  Frontier  Pro¬ 
vince.  I  have  told  them  that  migration  is  a  perfectly 
legitimate  course  to  adopt  when  there  is  no  other  way 
of  living  with  safety  and  honour.  A  complaint  has  fur¬ 
ther  been  brought  to  me  that  the  Muslim  populations  in 


“  THE  WILD  VALLEY  ”  OF  BANNU  95 

the  affected  places  no  longer  give  help  against  the  raiders, 
as  they  used  to  formerly,  before  certain  sections  of  the 
Frontier  Crimes  Regulation  Act  were  repealed,  and  that 
has  encouraged  the  raiders.  While  that  may  be  true,  let 
me  warn  you  that  if  you  depend  for  your  protection  on 
the  armed  assistance  of  others  you  must  be  prepared, 
sooner  or  later,  to  accept  the  domination  of  these  defend¬ 
ers.  Of  course,  you  are  entitled  to  learn  the  art  of  defend¬ 
ing  yourselves  with  arms.  You  must  develop  a  sense  of 
co-operation.  In  no  case  should  you  be  guilty  of  cowardice. 
Self-defence  is  everybody’s  birth-right.  I  do  not  want  to 
see  a  single  coward  in  India. 

“  The  fourth  alternative  is  that  of  non-violent 
approach,  which  I  am  here  before  you  to  suggest.  It  is 
the  surest  and  infallible  method  of  self-defence.  If  I  had 
my  way,  I  would  go  and  mix  with  the  tribes  and  argue 
it  out  with  them  and  I  am  sure  they  won’t  be  impervious 
to  the  argument  of  love  and  reason.  But  I  know,  today 
that  door  is  shut  to  me.  The  Government  won’t  permit 
me  to  enter  the  tribal  territory. 

“  The  tribesman  cannot  be  the  bogey-man  that  he  is 
represented  to  be.  He  is  a  human  being  just  like  you 
and  me  and  capable  of  responding  to  the  human  touch 
which  has  hitherto  been  conspicuous  by  its  absence  in 
dealing  with  them.  A  number  of  Waziris  came  and  saw 
me  today  at  noon.  I  did  not  find  that  their  nature  was 
essentially  different  from  human  nature  elsewhere. 

“  Man’s  nature  is  not  essentially  evil.  Brute  nature 
has  been  known  to  yield  to  the  influence  of  love.  You 
must  never  despair  of  human  nature.  You  are  a  com¬ 
munity  of  traders.  Do  not  leave  out  of  your  traffic  that 
noblest  and  most  precious  of  merchandise,  viz.,  love.  Give 
to  the  tribesmen  all  the  love  that  you  are  capable  of,  and 
you  will  have  theirs  in  return. 

“  To  seek  safety  by  offering  blackmail  or  ransom  to 
the  raiders  would  be  a  direct  invitation  to  them  to  repeat 
their  depredations  and  would  be  demoralizing  alike  to  the 
giver  and  the  tribesmen.  Instead  of  offering  them  money, 
the  rational  course  would  be  to  raise  them  above  penury 


96 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


by  teaching  them  industry  and  thereby  removing  the 
principal  motive  that  leads  them  into  the  raiding  habit. 

“  I  am  having  talks  with  Khudai  Khidmatgars  in  this 
connection  and  evolving  a  plan  in  collaboration  with  Bad- 
shah  Khan.  If  the  plan  bears  fruit,  and  the  Khudai  Khid¬ 
matgars  truly  become  what  their  name  signifies,  the  in¬ 
fluence  of  their  example,  like  the  sweet  fragrance  of  the 
rose,  will  spread  to  the  tribes  and  might  provide  a  per¬ 
manent  solution  of  the  Frontier  question.” 

Before  leaving  Bannu  Gandhiji  allowed  himself  to  be 
taken  to  the  site  of  the  recent  raid.  In  the  course  of  our 
brief  visit  several  facts  were  brought  to  his  attention. 
From  what  one  saw  and  heard,  it  was  clear  that  the  raid 
could  have  been  aborted  if  there  had  been  the  slightest 
wish  on  the  part  of  the  officers  immediately  concerned. 
They  had  notice  of  the  coming  raid.  The  raiders  were 
practically  under  observation  all  the  time.  Why  the  raid 
was  allowed  to  run  its  full  course  is  a  mystery. 

But  the  reader  should  have  some  knowledge  of  the 
theatre  of  the  raiders’  action.  The  fertile  and  beautiful 
Bannu  plain  watered  by  the  Kurram  and  the  Gambila 
rivers  has  a  varied  and  woeful  history.  Surrounded  as 
it  is  by  the  bleak  and  waterless  salt  range  in  the  Kohat 
District  on  the  north,  by  the  sandy  tract  of  Dera  Ismail 
Khan  on  the  south,  and  on  the  west  and  north-west  by 
the  howling  wilderness  of  the  Waziristan  hills,  where  life 
is  a  perpetual  struggle,  not  only  of  man  against  nature, 
but  also  of  man  against  man,  it  naturally  became  an  ob¬ 
ject  of  temptation  to  its  fierce  border  neighbours.  Its  early 
history  reads  more  like  a  blood-curdling  narrative  of  the 
battles  between  hawks,  kites  and  other  birds  of  prey  than 
anything  else.  The  following  excerpt  taken  at  random 
from  Thorburn’s  monograph  on  Bannu  will  serve  as  an 
apt  illustration  : 

“  Now  the  children  of  Shah  Farid,  who  was  also  called 
Shitak,  were  glad  for  they  were  sore  pressed  at  the  hands  of 
men  of  the  tribe  Wazir,  and  they  girded  up  their  loins,  and  with 
their  wives  and  little  ones  came  down  from  the  mountains,  and 
camped  at  the  mouth  of  the  pass  called  Tochi.  Then  their  elders 
assembled  together  and  said,  *  Let  us  send  three  pigeons  to  the 


a 

C 


05 

w 


AT  AHMADI  BANDA  IN  THE  MONTH  OF  RAMZAN 
Gandhiji  (scarcely  visible)  with  a  cordon  of  non-violent  Khudai 
IChidmatgars  being  conducted  through  a  Patlian  gathering. 


“  THE  WILD  VALLEY  ”  OF  BANNU  97 

Mangals  and  Hanis  as  a  sign  of  what  we  shall  do  unto  them.’ 
Then  they  took  three  pigeons,  and  the  first  they  left  entire,  and 
the  second  they  plucked  of  its  wing-feathers  alone ;  but  on  the 
third  they  left  not  a  feather  and  moreover  they  cut  off  its  head 
and  feet ;  and  they  sent  a  messenger  with  them,  who  said  to 
the  elders  of  the  Mangals  and  Hanis,  ‘  The  Lord  is  wroth  with 
you,  for  you  have  treated  his  Pir  scornfully,  and  he  has  delivered 
you  into  our  hands  ;  if  ye  rise  and  flee,  even  as  this  pigeon,  ye 
shall  be  safe ;  if  ye  remain,  ye  shall  be  maimed  even  as  this  one 
and  if  ye  resist,  ye  shall  be  destroyed  even  as  this  one.’  Then 
the  Mangals  and  Hanis  feared  exceedingly  and  it  happened  unto 
'  them  as  unto  the  pigeons.” 

In  the  Middle  Ages,  it  became  a  valley  of  rest  and 
ease  to  foreign  hordes  on  their  march  from  Ghazni  to 
India  ;  and  all  those  vile  concomitants  of  moving  armies, 
“  pimps,  panders,  harpies  and  whores  ”,  made  it  a  centre 
of  their  nefarious  activities,  leaving  behind  a  tradition 
that  has  not  become  altogether  extinct  yet.  A  proper 
appreciation  of  this  historical  background  is  necessary  to 
understand  clearly  the  phenomenon  of  trans-border  kid¬ 
nappings  and  raids. 

The  talk  with  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  officers  at 
Bannu  was  one  of  the  most  important  during  the  tour.  In 
it  Gandhi ji  explained  the  difference  between  non-violence 
of  the  strong  and  non-violence  of  the  weak  and  the 
difference  between  constructive  work,  taken  up  as  a 
philanthropic  activity  or  as  a  political  expedient,  and  con¬ 
structive  work  linked  to  non-violence,  when  it  becomes  an 
emancipative  force  with  tremendous  potency.  He  re¬ 
called  how  the  movement  of  non-violence  was  launched  in 
India.  Millions  at  that  time  felt  that  they  would  not  be 
able  to  fight  the  British  Government  with  the  sword  as 
the  latter  was  infinitely  better  armed.  He  told  them  that 
even  if  they  went  forth  to  fight,  sword  in  hand,  they  had 
to  be  ready  to  face  death.  If  the  sword  broke  in  their 
hand,  death  would  be  a  certainty.  Why  should  not  they 
then  learn  the  art  of  dying  without  killing  and  pit  against 
the  enemy  the  strength  of  their  spirit  ?  The  Government 
might  imprison  them  or  confiscate  their  property  or  even 
kill  them.  What  did  it  matter  ?  The  argument  went 


P-7 


98 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


home.  But  in  their  heart  of  hearts,  said  Gandhiji,  many 
had  the  feeling  that  if  only  they  had  sufficient  armed 
strength  they  would  resort  to  fighting.  They  accepted 
non-violence  because  there  was  nothing  else.  In  other 
words,  there  was  violence  in  the  heart.  Only  it  was  given 
up  in  action.  It  was  non-violence  of  the  weak,  not  of  the 
brave.  Even  so  it  had  made  them  stronger.  He  was  there 
to  tell  them  that  it  was  a  big  mistake  to  regard  non-vio¬ 
lence  as  a  weapon  of  the  weak  or  to  adopt  it  as  such.  If 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  fell  into  that  mistake,  it  would 
be  a  tragedy.  “  If  you  give  up  the  sword  at  Badshah 
Khan’s  word,  but  ketain  it  in  your  hearts,  your  non-vio¬ 
lence  will  be  a  short-lived  thing  —  not  even  a  nine  days’ 
wonder.  After  a  few  years  you  will  want  to  revert  to  it 
but,  may  be,  you  will  then  find  that  you  have  got  out  of 
the  habit  and  are  lost  to  both  the  ideals.  Nothing  will,  in 
that  event,  remain  to  you  but  vain  regret.  What  I  want 
of  you  is  a  unique  thing,  i.  e.,  that  you  will  disdain  to  use 
the  sword  although  you  have  got  the  capacity  and  there  is 
no  doubt  as  to  victory.  Even  if  the  opponent  is  armed 
with  a  broken  sword,  you  will  oppose  your  neck  to  it. 
And  this,  not  with  anger  or  retaliation  in  your  hearts  but 
only  love.  If  you  have  really  understood  non-violence  in 
this  sense,  you  will  never  want  to  use  the  sword  because 
you  will  have  got  something  infinitely  superior  in  its 
place. 

“You  will  ask,  ‘  How  will  all  this  have  any  effect 
on  the  British  Government  ?  ’  My  reply  is  that  by  uniting 
all  the  people  of  India  in  a  common  bond  of  love  through 
bur  selfless  service,  we  can  transform  the  atmosphere  in 
the  country  so  that  the  Britisher  will  not  be  able  to  resist 
it.  You  will  say  that' the  Britisher  is  impervious  to  love. 
My  thirty  years’  unbroken  experience  is  to  the  contrary. 
Today  17,000  Englishmen  can  rule  over  three  hundred 
millions  of  Indians  because  we  are  under  a  spell  of  fear. 
If  we  learn  to  love  one  another,  if  the  gulf  between  Hindu 
and  Muslim,  caste  and  outcaste,  and  rich  and  poor,  is  obli¬ 
terated,  a  handful  of  Englishmen  would  not  dare  to  con¬ 
tinue  their  rule  over  us. 


“THE  WILD  VALLEY”  OF  BANNU 


99 


“  Just  as  there  are  laws  of  armed  warfare,”  he  next 
told  them,  “  there  are  laws  of  non-violent  warfare  too. 
They  have  not  been  fully  discovered.  Under  violence  you 
punish  the  evil-doer,  in  non-violence  you  pity  him,  and 
regard  him  as  a  patient  to  be  cured  by  your  love. 

“  What  must  you  do  then  to  drive  out  the  British  by 
the  non-violent  method  ?  If  you  want  to  adopt  the  method 
of  violence,  you  have  to  learn  to  drill  and  to  become  adept 
in  the  use  of  arms.  In  Europe  and  America  even  women 
and  children  are  given  that  training.  Similarly  those  who 
have  adopted  the  weapon  of  non-violence  have  to  put 
themselves  through  a  vigorous  discipline  in  non-violence.” 

And  with  that  he  came  to  the  constructive  programme 
and  its  place  in  the  scheme  of  non-violence  as  a  dynamic 
force.  He  had  placed  the  programme  of  non-violence 
before  the  country  in  1920,  he  explained.  It  was  divided 
into  two  parts,  non-co-operation  and  constructive  pro¬ 
gramme.  The  latter  included  establishment  of  communal 
unity,  abolition  of  untouchability,  prohibition,  complete 
eradication  of  the  drink  and  drug  evil  and  propagation  of 
khacLi,  hand-spinning,  hand-weaving  and  other  cottage 
industries.  But  all  these  things  had  to  be  taken  up  not 
as  a  political  expediency  but  as  an  integral  part  of  the 
programme  of  non-violence.  This  last  made  all  the  dif¬ 
ference.  For  instance,  Hindu-Muslim  unity,  regarded 
as  an  expedient,  was  one  thing  and  quite  another, 
when  adopted  as  an  integral  part  of  non-violence. 
“  The  former,  by  its  very  nature,  cannot  be  lasting.  It 
will  be  discarded  as  soon  as  the  political  exigency  that 
suggested  it  is  over.  It  may  even  be  a  stratagem  or  a  ruse. 
When  it  is  taken  up  as  a  part  of  the  programme  of  non¬ 
violence  it  will  have  nothing  but  love  at  its  root  and  will 
be  sealed  with  one’s  heart’s  blood.” 

In  the  same  way  the  charkha  or  the  spinning  wheel 
had  to  be  linked  to  non-violence.  “  Today  there  are  mil¬ 
lions  of  unemployed  destitute  in  India.  One  way  to  deal 
with  them  is  to  allow  them  to  die  off  so  that,  as  in  South 
Africa,  there  might  be  more  per  capita  land  for  the  sur¬ 
vivors.  That  would  be  the  way  of  violence.  The  other 


100 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


way,  the  way  of  non-violence,  is  based  on  the  principle 
of  ‘  even  unto  this  last  It  requires  us  to  have  equal 
regard  for  the  least  of  God’s  creation.  A  votary  of  this 
path  will  deny  to  himself  what  cannot  be  shared  with  the 
least.  That  applies  even  to  those  who  labour  with  their 
hands  —  the  relatively  better  off  among  the  labouring 
class  must  seek  to  align  themselves  with  the  less  fortu¬ 
nate.”  It  was  this  line  of  thinking,  said  Gandhiji,  which 
had  led  to  the  discovery  of  the  charkha  on  his  part.  “  I 
had  not  even  seen  a  charkha  when  I  first  advocated  its 
use.  In  fact  I  called  it  a  handloom  in  Hind  Swaraj ,*  not 
knowing  a  spinning  wheel  from  a  handloom.  I  had  before 
my  mind’s  eye  the  poor,  landless  labourer  without  em¬ 
ployment  or  means  of  subsistence,  crushed  under  the 
weight  of  poverty.  How  could  I  save  him  —  that  was  my 
problem.  Even  now  while  I  am  sitting  with  you  in  these 
comfortable  surroundings,  my  heart  is  with  the  poor  and 
the  oppressed  in  their  humble  cottages.  I  would  feel  more 
at  home  in  their  midst.  If  I  allowed  myself  to  succumb 
to  the  love  of  ease  and  comfort,  it  would  be  my  undoing 
as  a  votary  of  ahimsa.  What  is  it  then  that  can  provide 
a  living  link  between  me  and  the  poor  ?  The  answer  is 
the  charkha.  No  matter  what  one’s  occupation  or  rank 
in  life  is,  the  charkha,  taken  with  all  that  it  signifies,  will 
provide  the  golden  bridge  to  unite  him  to  the  poor.  For 
instance,  if  I  am  a  doctor,  while  I  draw  the  sacrificial 
thread,  f  it  will  make  me  think  how  I  can  assuage  the  suf¬ 
fering  of  the  destitute  instead  of  the  royalty  in  rich  palaces 
with  the  prospect  of  fat  fees.  The  charkha  is  not  my  in¬ 
vention.  It  was  there  before.  My  discovery  consisted  in 
linking  it  to  the  programme  of  non-violence  and  inde¬ 
pendence.  God  whispered  into  my  heart  :  ‘  If  you  want 

to  work  through  non-violence,  you  have  to  proceed  with 

*  Hind  Swaraj  or  Indian  Home  Rule  by  M.  K.  Gandhi,  published 
by  the  Navajivan  Publishing  House.  It  was  originally  written  in 
Gujarati  in  1909  when  Gandhiji  was  editing  the  Indian  Opinion  in 
South  Africa. 

f  A  term  used  by  Gandhiji  to  mean  ‘spinning  not  for  self’  but 
as  a  sacrament,  to  identify  oneself  with  the  poor. 


“THE  WILD  VALLEY”  OF  BANNU  101 

small  things,  not  big.’  If  we  had  worked  the  fourfold  con¬ 
structive  programme  in  its  completeness  during  the  last 
twenty  years  as  I  had  envisaged  it,  we  should  have  been 
our  masters  today.  No  foreign  power  would  have  dared 
to  cast  its  evil  eye  upon  us.  No  enemy  from  outside  would 
have  dared  to  come  and  do  us  harm  if  there  had  been 
none  within.  Even  if  one  had  come  we  would  have  assi¬ 
milated  him  to  ourselves  and  he  would  not  have  been  able 
to  exploit  us. 

“It  is  this  type  of  non-violence,”  he  concluded,  “  that 
I  want  you  to  attain.  I  expect  you  to  be  twenty-four- 
carat  gold,  nothing  less.  Of  course,  you  can  deceive  me. 
If  you  do  that,  I  shall  blame  myself  only.  But  if  you  are 
sincere,  you  have  to  prove  by  your  action  that  nobody 
need  be  afraid  of  a  Red  Shirt  or  know  fear  while  there 
is  a  Red  Shirt  alive.” 


CHAPTER  XI 


SOLDIERS  OF  VIOLENCE 

versus  ! 

SOLDIERS  OF  THE  SPIRIT  V  ■  ’  ; 

In  striking  contrast  to  the  smiling  Bannu  plain  is 
the  Tahsil  of  Marwat.  It  is  a  vast  sandy  tract  1,198  square 
miles  in  area,  with  Lakki  as  its  headquarters.  Gandhiji 
visited  it  after  a  thirty-nine  mile  motor  drive.  An  in¬ 
teresting  feature  of  the  programme  at  Lakki  was  a  Khat- 
tak  dance  that  Badshah  Khan  had  specially  arranged  for 
him.  The  Khattak  dance  is  based  on  movements  involved 
in  sword  play  and  is  a  very  popular  form  of  folk-dance 
among  the  Khattak  clan  of  Pathans  whose  land  stretches 
from  Bannu  through  Kohat  and  along  the  Indus  as  far 
north  as  Akara  in  the  Peshawar  District.  Like  many 
other  indigenous  folk-arts,  it  was  fast  falling  into  desue¬ 
tude,  when  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement  which 
stands  for  the  revival  of  all  that  is  best  in  ancient,  indi¬ 
genous  Pathan  culture,  came  to  its  rescue.  The  elemental 
vigour  and  simplicity  of  its  rhythmic  movements  that  are 
performed  to  the  accompaniment  of  the  music  of  the 
drums  and  the  surnais  held  one  spellbound  while  the 
sheer  elan,  with  which  the  young  and  the  old,  including  a 
sprinkling  of  Hindus,  participated  in  it,  gladdened  one’s 
heart.  Particularly  unforgettable  was  the  performance  of 
a  youthful  “  grand  old  man  ”  who  seemed  to  personify 
perfectly  the  spirit  of  the  old  song,  “  Happy  is  the 
hall  where  beards  wag  all  ”,  and  who  nimbly  popped  in 
and  lit  up  the  intervals  between  the  more  vigorous  forms 
by  the  snow-white  glory  of  his  beard  and  the  irrepressible 
exuberance  and  abandon  of  his  movements  which  threw 
even  the  most  phlegmatic  into  roars  of  laughter. 
As  one  watched  the  performance  one  was  reminded 

102 


SOLDIERS  OF  VIOLENCE  v.  SOLDIERS  OF  THE  SPIRIT  103 

of  Fielding  King  Hall’s  *  description  of  a  Khattak  dance  : 
“  Their  feet  stamped  and  they  leapt,  now  with  the  force  of 
elephants,  then  with  grace  of  gazelles.”  And  again,  “  the 
grace  and  agility  of  the  leading  ‘  girl  ’  f  was  beyond  any¬ 
thing  I  could  have  imagined.  Nijinsky,  Massine,  Joos  and 
others  whom  I  have  admired  have  a  rival  far  away.” 

There  was  a  public  meeting  at  night  when  the  forest 
of  matchlocks  and  service  rifles,  with  which  the  gathering 
was  bristling,  served  vividly  to  remind  one  that  it  was  no 
audience  of  milksops  that  sat  listening  with  rapt  atten¬ 
tion  to  Gandhiji’s  discourse  on  non-violence.  It  provided 
a  particularly  appropriate  background  for  his  theme,  viz., 
“  The  Power  of  Disarmament  ”  on  which  he  spoke  to 
them  :  “  I  am  here  to  tell  you,  with  fifty  years’  expe¬ 

rience  of  non-violence  at  my  back,  that  it  is  an  infinitely 
superior  power  as  compared  to  brute  force.  An  armed 
soldier  relies  on  his  weapons  for  his  strength.  Take  away 
from  him  his  weapons  —  his  gun  or  his  sword  —  and  he 
generally  becomes  helpless,  his  resistance  collapses  and 
nothing  is  left  to  him  but  surrender.  But  a  person  who 
has  truly  realized  the  principle  of  non-violence  has  God- 
given  strength  for  his  weapon  of  which  he  cannot  be  de¬ 
prived  and  which  the  world  has  not  known  anything  to 
match.  Man  may,  in  a  moment  of  unawareness,  forget 
God,  but  He  keeps  watch  over  him  and  protects  him 
always.  If  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  have  understood  this 
secret,  if  they  have  realized  that  non-violence  is  the  great¬ 
est  power  on  earth,  well  and  good  ;  otherwise  it  would 
be  better  for  Badshah  Khan  to  restore  to  them  their  wea¬ 
pons  which  they  have  discarded  at  his  instance.  They 
will  then  be  at  least  brave  after  the  manner  of  the  world 
that  has  today  made  the  worship  of  brute  force  its  cult. 
But  if  they  discard  their  old  weapons  and  at  the  same 
time  remain  strangers  to  the  power  of  non-violence,  it 
would  be  a  tragedy  for  which  I  for  one  am  not  and,  so 
far  as  I  know,  Badshah  Khan  too  is  not  prepared.” 

*  Fielding  King  Hall :  Thirty  Days  of  India. 

t  In  the  folk-dances  of  the  Pathans  female  parts  are  always  played 
fcy  males. 


104 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


The  talk  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  was  a  brilliant 
exposition  of  the  difference  between  the  organization  of 
violence  and  that  of  non-violence.  “  The  principles  on 
which  a  non-violent  organization  is  based,”  he  observed, 
“  are  different  from  and  the  reverse  of  what  obtains  in  a 
violent  organization.  For  instance,  in  the  orthodox  army, 
there  is  clear  discrimination  as  between  an  officer  and  a 
private.  The  latter  is  subordinate  and  inferior  to  the 
former.  In  a  non-violent  army  the  General  is  just  the 
chief  servant  —  first  among  equals.  He  claims  no  privi¬ 
lege  over  or  superiority  to  the  rank  and  file.  You  have 
fondly  given  the  title  ‘  Badshah  Khan  ’  to  Khan  Abdul 
Ghaffar  Khan.  But  if  in  his  heart  of  hearts  he  actually 
began  to  believe  that  he  could  behave  like  an  ordinary 
General,  it  would  spell  his  downfall  and  bring  his  power 
to  an  end.  He  is  Badshah  in  the  sense  only  that  he  is  the 
truest  and  foremost  Khudai  Khidmatgar  and  excels  all 
other  Khudai  Khidmatgars  in  the  quality  and  volume  of 
service. 

“  The  second  difference  between  a  military  organiza¬ 
tion  and  a  peace  organization  is  that  in  the  former,  the 
rank  and  file  have  no  part  in  the  choice  of  their  General 
and  other  officers.  These  are  imposed  upon  them  and 
enjoy  unrestricted  power  over  them.  In  a  non-violent 
army,  the  General  and  the  officers  are  elected  or  act  as 
if  they  are  elected.  Their  authority  is  moral  and  rests 
solely  on  the  willing  obedience  of  the  rank  and  file. 

“  So  much  for  internal  relations  between  the  General 
of  a  non-violent  army  and  his  soldiers.  Coming  to  their 
relations  with  the  outside  world,  the  same  sort  of  differ¬ 
ence  is  visible.  Just  now  we  had  to  deal  with  an  enor¬ 
mous  crowd  that  had  gathered  outside  this  room.  You 
tried  to  disperse  it  by  persuasion  and  loving  argument, 
not  by  using  force  and,  when  in  the  end,  you  failed  in  your 
attempt,  withdrew  and  sought  relief  by  getting  behind  the 
closed  doors  of  this  room.  Military  discipline  knows  no 
moral  pressure. 

“  Let  me  proceed  a  step  further.  The  people  who  are 
crowding  outside  here  are  all  our  friends  though  they 


SOLDIERS  OF  VIOLENCE  v.  SOLDIERS  OF  THE  SPIRIT  105 

are  not  Khudai  Khidmatgars.  They  are  eager  to  listen 
to  what  we  may  tell  them.  But  there  may  be  others  be¬ 
sides  them  elsewhere,  who  may  not  be  well  disposed  to¬ 
wards  us,  who  may  even  be  hostile  to  us.  In  armed  orga¬ 
nizations,  the  only  recognized  way  of  dealing  with  suck 
persons  is  to  drive  them  out  by  force.  Here,  to  regard 
even  in  thought,  the  opponent  or,  for  that  matter,  anybody, 
as  your  enemy,  would,  in  the  parlance  of  non-violence  or 
love,  be  called  a  sin.  Far  from  seeking  revenge,  a  votary 
of  non-violence  would  pray  to  God  that  He  might  bring 
about  a  change  of  heart  in  his  opponent  and  if  that  does 
not  happen  he  would  be  prepared  to  bear  any  injury  that 
his  opponent  might  inflict  upon  him,  not  in  a  cowardly  or 
helpless  spirit,  but  bravely  with  a  smile  on  his  face.  I 
believe  implicitly  in  the  ancient  saying  that  non-violence 
real  and  complete  will  melt  the  stoniest  hearts.” 

He  illustrated  his  remarks  by  describing  how  Mir 
Alam  Khan,  his  Pathan  assailant  in  South  Africa,  had 
ultimately  repented  and  become  friendly  :  *  “  This  could 
not  have  happened  if  I  had  retaliated.  My  action  can  be 
fitly  described  as  a  process  of  conversion.  Unless  you  have 
felt  within  you  this  urge  to  convert  your  enemy  by  your 
love,  you  had  better  retrace  your  steps.  Non-violence  is 
not  for  you. 

“  ‘  What  about  thieves,  dacoits  and  spoilers  of  defence¬ 
less  women  ?  ’  you  will  ask.  ‘  Must  a  Khudai  Khidmat- 

*  In  1908  Gandhiji  made  a  settlement  with  General  Smuts,  on  a 
promise  by  the  latter,  that  the  anti-Asiatic  legislation  known  as  the 
Black  Act  would  be  removed  if  the  Indian  settlers  agreed  to  voluntary 
registration.  It  involved  giving  of  finger  prints.  Mir  Alam,  a  Pathan, 
who  had  joined  Gandhiji’s  struggle,  misunderstood  his  motive  and 
made  a  murderous  attack  on  him,  knocking  him  down  senseless  and 
left  him  for  dead.  As  soon  as  Gandhiji  recovered  consciousness  he 
wrote  a  letter  to  the  authorities  saying  that  he  did  not  want  Mir  Alam 
to  be  prosecuted  as  he  evidently  was  labouring  under  a  misapprehen¬ 
sion  and  did  not  know  what  he  was  doing.  Mir  Alam  was  jailed, 
his  offence  being  cognizable,  but  he  was  so  touched  by  Gandhiji’s- 
forgiveness  that  he  became  his  devoted  friend  afterwards  and  con¬ 
stituted  himself  into  his  bodyguard. 

(For  full  story  see  Gandhiji’s  History  of  Satyagraha  in  South- 
Africa,  chapters  22  and  27). 


106 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


gar  maintain  non-violence  in  regard  to  them  too  ?  ’  My 
reply  is,  most  decidedly  ‘  yes  Pufiishment  is  God’s  who 
alone  is  the  infallible  judge.  It  does  not  belong  to  man 
“  with  judgment  weak  Renunciation  of  violence  must 
not  mean  apathy  or  helplessness  in  the  face  of  wrong¬ 
doing.  If  our  non-violence  is  genuine  and  rooted  in  love, 
it  ought  to  provide  a  more  effective  remedy  against  wrong¬ 
doing  than  the  use  of  brute  force.  I  certainly  expect  you 
to  trace  out  the  dacoits,  show  them  the  error  of  their  w^ys, 
and  in  so  doing,  brave  even  death.” 

From  Lakki  to  Dera  Ismail  Khan  was  a  long  and 
fatiguing  drive.  Wide  stretches  of  an  arid,  waterless 
waste,  reaching  right  up  to  the  Indus  !  Clay  hills  with 
their  sides  deeply  indurated  by  the  action  of  the  wind  and 
the  rain,  sprawling  across  it  like  the  remains  of  huge, 
antediluvian  monsters  !  Strings  of  camels  carrying  on 
their  backs  the  entire  paraphernalia  of  a  household,  from 
cherub-faced  little  tots  to  hens,  chicks  and  firewood  ! 
Caravans  of  Afghans  trekking  down  from  their  native 
homeland,  with  their  families  and  shaggy,  fat,  fierce  sheep 
dogs,  for  their  winter  sojourn  in  the  plains  within  the 
British  territory  !  A  wisp  of  mirage  shimmering  in  the 
distance  through  a  veil  of  heated  air  !  Dust-begrimed 
hedgeberry  bushes  flitting  past,  ghost-like  by  the  road¬ 
side  !  The  dust  and  the  glare  !  These  make  up  the  sum 
■of  impressions  in  retrospect  of  the  route  to  Dera  Ismail 
Khan. 

Dera  Ismail  Khan  was  reached  at  evening.  It 
was  still  passing  through  the  aftermath  of  the  1930 
Hindu-Muslim  riot  with  its  ugly  memories  of  arson 
and  loot.  The  local  Congress  organization  seemed 
to  exist  only  in  name  and  even  the  co-operation  of 
Badshah  Khan’s  team  of  Khudai  Khidmatgars  seemed  to 
he  unwelcome  to  the  local  volunteers.  The  result  was 
that  arrangements  for  keeping  the  crowds  under  control 
at  Gandhiji’s  residence  completely  broke  down  and  there 
was  pandemonium  making  the  holding  of  the  prayer 
meeting  impossible.  Gandhiji  tried  in  vain  to  take  shelter 
behind  bolted  doors  from  the  crowd  who  would  not  leave 


SOLDIERS  OP  VIOLENCE  v.  SOLDIERS  OF  THE  SPIRIT  107 

him  at  peace  even  there.  The  more  daring  ones  clam¬ 
bered  on  the  roof,  and  the  skylights  looking  into  Gandhiji’s 
room  were  soon  lined  with  scores  upon  scores  of  curious, 
prying  eyes  !  After  two  days,  the  Nawab  Saheb  of  Dera 
Ismail  Khan  ‘  kidnapped  ’  Gandhiji  and  party  with  the 
permission  of  his  Hindu  host  and  removed  them  to  the 
[  comparative  peace  of  his  residence. 

A  purse  of  Rs.  5,753  was  presented  to  Gandhiji  at  the 
j  public  meeting  —  by  no  means  a  creditable  performance 
!  for  a  city  like  Dera  Ismail  Khan.  And  even  out  of  this 
amount  Rs.  5,000  was  a  single  donation.  The  poor  show 
drew  from  Gandhiji  a  sharp  rebuke  in  the  course  of  his 
joint  reply  to  the  various  addresses  of  welcome  that  were 
presented  to  him  at  the  public  meeting.  “  I  thank  you 
for  the  purse  which  you  have  presented,”  he  began,  “  but 
you  should  know  that  Daridranarayana,  whose  repre¬ 
sentative  I  claim  to  be,  is  not  so  easily  satisfied.  My  busi¬ 
ness  is  with  the  crores  of  semi-starved  masses,  who  sorely 
need  relief.  We  have  to  tackle  through  khadi,  the  ques¬ 
tion  of  the  huge  annual  drain  from  India  caused  by  the 
importation  of  cotton  goods  and  long  staple  cotton  for 
our  textile  mills.  Through  khadi  the  All-India  Spinners’ 
Association  has  already  distributed  over  four  crores  of 
rupees  as  wages  among  the  needy  Hindu  and  Mussulman 
spinners  and  weavers.  Then,  there  is  the  question  of 
Harijan  uplift  —  an  equally  Herculean  task.  Your  dona¬ 
tion  ought  to  be  commensurate  with  the  magnitude  of 
the  task  for  which  it  is  intended.  Yours  is  not  a  poor 
city.  The  donors  are  mostly  merchants.  Surely,  you 
could  have  done  better.” 

Referring  next  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  and  to  the 
strained  relations  between  them  and  the  local  volunteers 
which  he  had  noticed,  he  proceeded  :  “  These  differences 

are  unfortunate.  If,  however,  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  live 
up  to  their  creed  as  they  have  now  understood  it,  the  dif¬ 
ferences  and  quarrels  will  be  things  of  the  past.  They 
are  on  their  trial.  If  they  come  out  victorious  they  will 
be  instrumental  in  bringing  about  communal  unity  and 
•establishing  Swaraj.  To  banish  anger  altogether  from 


108 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


one’s  breast,  I  know,  is  a  difficult  task.  It  cannot  be 
achieved  through  purely  personal  effort.  It  can  be  done 
only  by  God’s  grace.  I  ask  you  all  to  join  me  in  the  prayer 
that  God  might  enable  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  to  con¬ 
quer  the  last  traces  of  anger  and  violence  that  might  still 
be  lurking  in  their  breasts.” 

Kulachi,  the  headquarters  of  the  tahsil  of  that  name,, 
situated  on  the  north  bank  of  the  Luni  torrent,  twenty- 
seven  miles  west  of  Dera  Ismail  Khan  presented  an  address 
to  Gandhiji  at  a  public  meeting  held  there  on  the  30th  of 
October.  It  referred  to  the  chronic  poverty  of  the  tahsil 
and  the  scarcity  of  rainfall  which  did  not  exceed  four 
inches  in  the  year.  Gandhiji  had  no  hesitation  in  saying 
that  they  could  banish  poverty  by  taking  to  the  charkha  : 
“  I  can  say  that  if  the  Pathans  will  take  to  this  peaceful 
occupation,  both  cotton  and  wool  spinning  have  a  great 
future.” 

At  the  public  meeting  held  next  day  at  Tank,  Gandhiji 
referred  to  the  lament  that  the  Hindus  of  Tank  had  poured 
out  before  him.  A  deputation  of  Hindus  had  waited  upon 
him  and  complained  about  the  state  of  general  insecurity 
in  respect  of  life  and  property  under  which  they  lived.  If 
only  the  local  Khudai  Khidmatgars  helped  them,  they  had 
told  him,  their  problem  would  be  solved.  “  They  feel,”' 
observed  Gandhiji,  “  that  the  existence  of  a  microscopic 
Hindu  minority  in  the  midst  of  the  predominantly  Mussul¬ 
man  population  in  this  area  can  be  rendered  possible  only 
if  the  latter  will  be  as  true  hamsayas  (neighbours)  to- 
them,  and  they  have  asked  me  to  appeal  to  the  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  to  fulfil  their  natural  role  in  respect  of  them. 
I  entirely  endorse  their  feeling  and  their  appeal,  and  I 
am  convinced  that  it  is  within  your  power  to  set  them  at 
their  ease  if  you  will  but  fulfil  the  expectations  you  have 
raised  in  me.  As  I  observed  on  a  previous  occasion,  the 
Hindus,  the  Mussulmans  and  the  Englishmen  in  this  pro¬ 
vince  are  being  weighed  in  the  balance.  History  will 
record  its  verdict  about  the -Englishmen’s  deeds.  But  the 
Hindus  and  the  Mussulmans  can  write  their  own  history 
by  being  correct  in  their  mutual  dealings.  For  the  Khudai 


SOLDIERS  OF  VIOLENCE  v.  SOLDIERS  OF  THE  SPIRIT  ]q9 

Khidmatgars  their  course  of  action  has  been  determined. 
They  have  to  become  a  living  wall  of  protection  to  their 
neighbours. 

“  A  small  body  of  determined  spirits  fired  by  an  un¬ 
quenchable  faith  in  their  mission  can  alter  the  course  of 
history.  It  has  happened  before  and  it  may  again  happen 
if  the  non-violence  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  is  un¬ 
alloyed  gold,  not  mere  glittering  tinsel.” 

In  his  usual  talk  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars,  Gandhiji 
chose  for  his  text,  what  a  local  Mussulman  notable  had 
told  him  and  which  Gandhiji  himself  later  recorded  :  * 
“  If  in  your  heart  of  hearts  there  is  the  slightest  inclina¬ 
tion  to  regard  non-violence  as  a  mere  cloak  for  or  a  step¬ 
ping  stone  to  greater  violence  as  suggested  by  this  friend,” 
he  told  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars,  “  nay,  unless  you  are 
prepared  to  carry  your  non-violence  to  its  ultimate  logical 
■conclusion  and  to  pray  for  forgiveness  even  for  a  baby- 
killer  and  a  child-murderer,  you  cannot  sign  your  Khudai 
Khidmatgar’s  pledge  of  non-violence.  To  sign  that  pledge 
with  mental  reservations  would  only  bring  disgrace  upon 
you  and  your  organization  and  hurt  him  whom  you  might 
delight  to  call  Fakhar-i- Afghan  —  the  Pride  of  the 
Afghans.” 

Next,  discussing  the  classical  imaginary  case  of  an 
innocent  girl  being  in  danger  of  being  molested  by  a 
ruffian  he  explained  to  them  how  non-violent  self-immo¬ 
lation  provided  a  better  and  more  efficacious  way  for 
saving  the  girl  from  her  threatened  fate  than  the  method 
of  violence  :  “  ‘  But  what  about  the  classical  instance  of  the 
defenceless  sister  or  mother  who  is  threatened  with 
molestation  by  an  evil-minded  ruffian  ?  ’  you  will  ask. 
*  Is  the  ruffian  in  question  to  be  allowed  to  work  his  will  ? 
Would  not  the  use  of  violence  be  permissible  even  in  such 
a  case  ?  ’  My  reply  is,  ‘  No  ’.  You  will  entreat  the  ruffian. 
The  odds  are  that  in  his  intoxication  he  will  not  listen. 
You  will  then  interpose  yourself  between  him  and  his 
intended  victim.  Very  probably  you  will  be  killed  but 


*  See  Chapter  IX. 


110 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


you  will  have  done  your  duty.  Ten  to  one,  killing  you. 
unarmed  and  unresisting,  will  assuage  the  assailant’s  lust, 
and  he  will  leave  his  victim  unmolested.  But  it  has  been 
said  to  me  that  tyrants  do  not  act  as  we  want  or  expect 
them  to.  Finding  you  unresisting  he  may  tie  you  to  a 
post  and  make  you  witness  the  rape  of  the  victim.  If  you 
have  the  will  you  will  so  exert  yourself  that  you  will 
break  the  bonds  or  break  yourself  in  the  attempt.  In 
either  case,  you  will  open  the  eyes  of  the  wrong-doer. 
Your  armed  resistance  could  do  no  more,  while  if  you 
were  worsted,  the  position  would  likely  be  much  worse 
than  if  you  died  unresisting.  There  is  also  the  chance  of 
the  intended  victim  copying  your  calm  courage  and  im¬ 
molating  herself  rather  than  allowing  herself  to  be 
dishonoured.” 

It  was  probably  for  the  first  time  that  anybody  had 
spoken  to  them  in  that  strain  and  dared  to  present  to 
them  the  gospel  of  non-violence  in  its  completeness.  The 
very  fact  that  Gandhiji  found  it  possible  to  do  so  consti¬ 
tutes  a  new  era  in  the  history  of  the  Pathan  race.  As 
one  watched  these  rough  soldiers  listening  to  Gandhiji’s 
strange  message  of  peace  under  the  watchful  eye  of  their 
chief,  Khan  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan,  one  could  not  help 
recalling  to  oneself  the  immortal  lines  of  the  poet  describ¬ 
ing  “  stout  Cortez  ”  and  his  men  that  looked  at  each  other 
“  with  mild  surmise,  silent,  upon  a  peak  in  Darien.” 

“  Then  felt  I  like  some  watcher  of  the  skies 
When  a  new  planet  swims  into  his  ken, 

Or  like  stout  Cortez,  when  with  eagle  eyes 
He  stared  at  the  Pacific,  and  all  his  men 
Looked  at  each  other  with  a  mild  surmise, 
Silent,  upon  a  peak  in  Darien.” 


CHAPTER  XII 

ACROSS  THE  SALT  RANGE 

With  Dera  Ismail  Khan  ended  Gandhiji’s  tour  of  the 
trans-Indus  districts  of  the  North-West  Frontier  Province. 
Leaving  Dera  Ismail  Khan  in  the  afternoon  we  entered 
upon  the  last  lap  of  the  tour.  Gandhiji  was  anxious  not 
to  extend  his  tour  a  day  further  than  absolutely  neces¬ 
sary  into  the  month  of  Ramzan.  The  punctilious  care 
with  which  our  Mussulman  hosts  throughout  the  tour  and 
Badshah  Khan  and  his  Old  Guard  of  the  Khudai  Khid- 
matgars  looked  after  the  feeding  and  other  creature-com¬ 
forts  of  Gandhiji  and  his  party  while  they  themselves 
fasted,  made  Gandhiji  all  the  more  determined  to  apply 
in  his  own  case  the  principle  of  noblesse  oblige.  He  made 
a  feeling  reference  to  it  in  the  course  of  his  talk  with 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  in  a  small  way-side  village 
where  we  halted  for  our  midday  meal  later.  “  It  has 
touched  me  deeply  and  also  humbled  me  to  find,”  he  ob¬ 
served,  “  that  at  a  time,  when  owing  to  the  Ramzan  fast, 
not  a  kitchen  fire  was  lit  in  the  whole  of  this  village  of 
Mussulman  homes,  food  had  to  be  cooked  for  us.  I  am 
past  the  stage  when  I  could  fast  with  you  as  I  did  in  South 
Africa  to  teach  the  Mussulman  boys  who  were  under  my 
care  to  keep  the  Ramzan  fast.  I*had  also  to  consider  the 
feelings  of  Badshah  Khan  who  had  made  my  physical 
well-being  his  day-and-night  concern  and  who  would  have 
felt  embarrassed  if  I  fasted.  I  can  only  ask  your  pardon.” 

The  rest  of  the  journey  was  a  mad  rush.  We  covered 
over  one  hundred  miles  on  the  first  day,  striking  out  into 
the  interior  to  take  in  the  village  of  Paniala,  ten  miles 
from  the  main  road.  Evening  had  already  fallen  when 
we  reached  Mirekhel  and  the  roads  were  barricaded.  Tra¬ 
velling  on  this  section  of  the  road  was  not  considered  safe, 
and  no  traffic  was  permitted  after  4  p.m.  But  Badshah 

111 


212  A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 

• 

Khan’s  presence  acted  as  “  open  sesame  ”  everywhere. 

Tell  them,  we  want  to  travel  at  our  risk,”  he  instructed 
his  son  Wali  Khan  who  was  behind  the  steering  wheel, 
as  we  approached  the  first  barricade.  And  then,  “  If  you 
hear  somebody  shout  out  ‘  stop  ’,  put  on  the  brakes  at 
once.  Nobody  will  touch  us  if  they  know  who  we  are  ; 
but  if  you  try  to  rush  past,  you  may  hear  a  shot  ring  out 
after  you.”  We  halted  for  the  night  in  the  fruit  garden  of 
M.  Maqsudjan  and  his  brother,  who  hides  behind  a  rustic 
exterior  his  university  education.  The  rush  was  resumed 
on  the  following  morning.  Doubling  the  track  of  our  ori¬ 
ginal  journey  to  Dera  Ismail  Khan  we  halted  for  a  couple 
of  hours  in  the  village  of  Ahmadi  Banda,  skirted  the  town 
of  Bannu  and  sped  past  the  gray  masses  of  clay  hills  of  the 
Salt  Range  on  whose  crumbling  crests  a  weird  loneliness 
and  sleep  seem  to  brood  always.  Then  on  through  the 
town  of  Kohat  and  over  the  Kohat  pass,  we  passed  the 
point,  now  marked  by  a  police  picket,  where  a  goat  track 
emerges  from  a  mountain  defile  and  over  which  Mollie 
Ellis  was  carried  by  her  captors  to  her  place  of  captivity. 
And  so  on  over  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  miles  of  the 
track,  and  finally  “  the  market  square  of  the  Peshawar 
Town  ”  at  the  end  of  the  day. 

Badshah  Khan  kept  up  a  running  fire  of  comment  on 
the  various  sites  and  localities  on  the  route  while  mile 
after  mile  of  the  asphalted  track  reeled  out  and  was  left 
behind.  As  we  sped  pa£t  one  of  the  military  posts  with 
which  the  Bannu-Kohat  road  was  studded,  he  broke  out : 
“  What  a  costly  futility,  Mahatmaji !  Look  at  this  vain 
display  of  flags,  armoured  cars  and  tanks.  And  yet  they 
have  not  been  able  to  capture  a  small  band  of  robbers  that 
has  been  harrying  this  part  of  the  country  for  so  long. 
The  robber  chief  planted  his  flag  on  yonder  hill  in  sight 
of  the  military  and  challenged  them  to  arrest  him,  but 
he  is  still  at  large.  Either  it  spells  hopeless  inefficiency 
on  the  part  of  the  military  or  deliberate  apathy  which  is 
nothing  short  of  criminal.” 

There  were  meetings  with  Khudai  Khidmatgars  both 
at  Paniala  and  Ahmadi  Banda  and  a  public  meeting 


“  You  ought  to  feel  the  stronger  for  having  put  away  your  arms 


ACROSS  THE  SALT  RANGE 


113 


besides  at  Paniala.  But  before  giving  the  substance  of 
Gandhiji’s  talks,  it  is  necessary  to  note  a  few  things  about 
the  people  to  whom  his  remarks  were  addressed,  their 
characteristics  and  traditions. 

Unlike  the  term  Afghan  which  is  used,  in  its  widest 
sense,  to  denote  any  inhabitant  of  the  modern  kingdom 
of  Afghanistan,  the  term  Pathan  has  a  linguistic  deriva¬ 
tion,  being  a  corruption  of  Pukhton,  the  Pukhtu-speakers. 
It  includes  all  Pushtu-  or  Pukhtu-speaking  people  of 
Southern  and  Eastern  Afghanistan  and  the  Indian  border¬ 
land.  One  of  the  points  which  Badshah  Khan  used  often 
to  emphasize  in  his  public  speeches  was  that  in  the  Front¬ 
ier  Province  everybody  was  a  Pathan  who  had  made  that 
province  his  home  and  spoke  Pukhtu,  irrespective  of 
whether  he  was  a  Hindu,  Sikh  or  Mussulman.  And  as 
a  matter  of  fact  there  are  Hindus  and  Sikhs,  women  and 
children  settled  among  the  Pathans  who  have  adopted  the 
Pathan  dress  and  who  can  speak  only  Pushtu.  They  have 
•even  adopted  the  Pushtu  suffix  zai-‘  son  of  ’. 

By  temperament  the  Pathans  are  a  childlike  and  jovial 
race.  They  are  fond  of  music,  poetry  and  folk-dances  and 
when  exhilarated,  will  express  their  exuberance  by  the 
firing  of  ‘  festive  shots  ’.  Their  favourite  instruments  of 
music  are  drums  ( nagara ),  flute  ( surnai )  and  bagpipes. 

In  appearance  the  Pathan  is  of  a  stalwart  make,  lean 
and  wiry.  Throughout  our  tour  we  did  not  come  across 
a  single  Pathan  with  a  paunch,  thanks  to  lean  meat  which 
he  consumes  and  his  sparing  use  of  starch.  He  never 
moves  without  his  weapons.  When  grazing  his  cattle  or 
driving  his  beasts  of  burden,  when  tilling  the  soil  or  at¬ 
tending  a  fair  or  a  public  function  he  is  still  armed.  His 
rifle  or  his  long,  heavy  jezail  (as  the  old  style  Pathan 
matchlocks  are  called),  which  is  generally  slung  over  his 
left  shoulder,  the  belt  of  cartridges  and  the  knives  and 
daggers  that  are  stuck  about  his  person,  one  of  them  often 
between  the  nape  of  his  neck  and  the  collar  of  his  mantle, 
are  never  laid  aside  outside  his  home  and  during  his  wak¬ 
ing  hours.  He  is  a  crack  shot  and  an  adept  in  ambuscade 
and  mountain  guerrilla  warfare. 


P-8 


114 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


It  has  become  a  fashion  among  English  writers  on 
the  Pathan  question  —  most  of  whom  are  ex-military  offi¬ 
cers,  and  therefore  his  enemies  —  to  vilify  Pathan  charac¬ 
ter.  He  has  been  described  as  “  thievish  and  predatory  to 
the  last  degree  “  A  Pathan  will  steal  a  blanket  from 
under  a  sleeping  person,”  observes  Commander  Stephen 
King  Hall.  But  we  have  the  testimony  both  of  Davies- 
and  the  author  of  that  delightful  book,  The  Khyber 
Caravan,  that  the  problem  facing  the  military  authorities 
today  is  not  how  to  prevent  the  disappearance  of  blankets 
from  under  the  sleeping  citizens,  but  disappearance  of  pic¬ 
kets  (who  have  forgotten  sleep  for  fear  of  the  raiders), 
rifle  and  all.  Loss  of  rifles  of  sentries  on  duty  became  so 
frequent  that  orders  were  issued  that  except  in  the  case 
of  Tochi  scouts  rifles  must  be  chained  to  the  person  of  the 
picket.  But  neither  the  penalty  of  court-martial  for  loss 
of  rifle  nor  the  practice  of  chaining  the  fire-arms  to  the 
persons  of  scouts  out  on  duty,  “  at  the  wrist  and  the 
waist  ”  was  proof  against  the  ingenuity  of  the  raiders  who 
now  carried  away  the  sentry  along  with  the  rifle  chained 
to  his  person. 

In  his  social  relations  the  Pathan  is  ruled  by  what  is 
known  as  Pukhtonwali  or  the  threefold  Pathan  code  of 
honour,  which  imposes  upon  tribesmen  obligations,  the 
non-observance  of  which  is  regarded  as  the  deadliest  of 
sins  and  is  followed  by  lasting  dishonour  and  ostracism  : 
(1)  he  must  grant  to  all  fugitives  the  right  of  asylum 
-( nanaioatai ),  (2)  he  must  proffer  openhanded  hospitality 
( melmastia )  even  to  his  deadliest  enemy,  and  (3)  he  must 
wipe  out  insult  with  insult  ( badal ).  This  last  leads  to 
the  practice  of  blood-feuds  which  is  the  bane  of  the  Pathan 
race.  Every  branch  or  section  of  a  tribe  has  its  inter¬ 
necine  wars,  every  family  its  hereditary  blood-feuds  and 
every  individual  his  personal  foes.  “  Every  person  counts 
up  his  murders,  each  tribe  has  its  debtor  and  creditor 
account  with  its  neighbours,  life  for  life.”  “  Unfortunate¬ 
ly,”  observes  Davies,  “  unruly  tribesmen  fail  to  realize 
that  under  the  disastrous  influence  of  this  barbarous  cus¬ 
tom,  many  of  their  noblest  families  are  brought  to  the 


ACROSS  THE  SALT  RANGE 


115 


verge  of  extinction.  Until  these  civil  warfares  die  out, 
there  can  be  no  united  people  and  no  reign  of  peace.” 
As  has  been  already  stated  in  these  pages,  these  blood- 
feuds  Badshah  Khan  deplores  most  and  believes  that  if 
non-violence  takes  deep  root  in  the  Pathan  heart  the  sense¬ 
less  feuds  will  die  and  the  Pathan  will  live. 

But  whatever  the  virtues  and  defects  of  the  Pathan 
character  may  be,  non-violence  has  not  in  the  long  past 
been  one  of  them.  And  so  Gandhiji  took  pains  to  explain 
to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  that  what  he  had  come  to  tell 
them  was  not  any  addition  to  or  extension  of  what  they 
had  known  and  practised  but  in  several  ways  its  reverse. 
“  I  have  now  had  the  assurance  from  your  own  lips  of 
what  I  had  from  Badshah  Khan  already,”  he  remarked 
to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  at  Paniala.  “  You  have  adopt¬ 
ed  non-violence  not  merely  as  a  temporary  expedient  but 
as  a  creed  for  good.  Therefore,  mere  renunciation  of  the 
sword,  if  there  is  a  sword  in  your  heart,  will  not  carry 
you  far.  Your  renunciation  of  the  sword  cannot  be  said 
to  be  genuine  unless  it  generates  in  your  hearts  a  power, 
the  opposite  of  that  of  the  sword  and  superior  to  it.  Hither¬ 
to  revenge  or  retaliation  has  been  held  amongst  you  as  a 
sacred  obligation.  If  you  have  a  feud  with  anybody  that 
man  becomes  your  enemy  for  all  time  and  the  feud  is 
handed  down  from  father  to  son.  In  non-violence  even 
if  somebody  regards  you  as  his  enemy,  you  may  not  so 
regard  him  in  return,  and  of  course,  there  can  be  no  ques¬ 
tion  of  revenge.”  He  asked  them  :  “  Who  could  be  more 
cruel  or  bloodthirsty  than  the  late  General  Dyer  ?  *  Yet 
the  Jallianwalla  Bagh  Congress  Inquiry  Committee,  on  my 

*  On  April  13,  1919,  General  Dyer  killed  (according  to  the  official 
figure)  327  and  wounded  1,200,  by  giving  the  order  to  fire  on  a  peaceful 
and  unarmed  gathering  of  men,  women  and  children  in  Jallianwalla 
Bagh  at  Amritsar,  that  had  assembled  to  protest  against  the  repressive 
Rowlatt  Act,  against  which  Gandhiji  had  launched  Satyagraha.  This 
was  followed  by  the  introduction  of  Martial  Law.  A  committee  of 
inquiry  was  appointed  by  the  Indian  National  Congress  to  report 
on  the  massacre  and  the  “  Punjab  Martial  Law  atrocities  ”.  Gandhiji 
who  was  on  the  Committee  opposed  the  idea  of  demanding  punish¬ 
ment  of  General  Dyer  but  asked  that  he  be  relieved  of  his  charge. 


116 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


advice,  refused  to  ask  for  his  prosecution.  I  had  no  trace  of 
ill-will  against  him  in  my  heart.  I  would  have  also  liked 
to  meet  him  personally  and  reach  his  heart,  but  that  was 
to  remain  a  mere  aspiration.”  And  he  went  on  to  tell  them 
how  non-violence  of  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar  should  express 
itself  in  acts  of  service  to  God’s  creatures  and  the  training 
that  was  necessary  for  it. 

At  the  end  of  his  talk  he  was  presented  with  a  poser 
by  one  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  who  had  followed  his 
address  closely  :  “  You  expect  us  to  protect  the  Hindus 

against  the  raiders  and  yet  you  tell  us  that  we  may  not 
use  our  weapons  even  against  thieves  and  dacoits.  How 
can  the  two  go  together  ?  ”  “  The  contradiction,”  Gan- 
dhiji  replied,  “  is  only  apparent.  If  you  have  really  assi¬ 
milated  the  non-violent  spirit,  you  won’t  wait  for  the 
raiders  to  appear  on  the  scene,  but  will  seek  them  out 
in  their  own  territory  and  prevent  the  raids  from  taking 
place.  If  even  then  a  raid  does  take  place,  you  will  face 
the  raiders  and  tell  them  that  they  can  take  away  all  your 
belongings  but  they  shall  touch  the  property  of  your 
Hindu  neighbours  only  over  your  dead  body.  And  if  there 
are  hundreds  of  Khudai  Khidmatgars  ready  to  protect  the 
Hindu  hamsayas  (neighbours)  with  their  lives,  the  raiders 
will  certainly  think  better  of  butchering  in  cold  blood  all 
the  innocent  and  inoffensive  Khudai  Khidmatgars  who  are 
non-violently  pitched  against  them.  You  know  the  story 
of  Abdul  Qadir  Jilani  and  his  forty  gold  mohurs  with 
which  his  mother  had  sent  him  to  Baghdad.  On  the  way 
the  caravan  was  waylaid  by  robbers  who  proceeded  to 
strip  Abdul  Qadir’s  companions  of  all  their  belongings. 
Thereupon  Abdul  Qadir,  who  so  far  happened  to  be  un¬ 
touched,  shouted  out  to  the  raiders  and  offered  them  the 
forty  gold  mohurs  which  his  mother  had  sewn  into  the 
lining  of  his  tunic.  The  legend  goes  that  the  raiders  were 
so  struck  by  the  simple  naivete  of  the  boy,  that  the  saint 
then  was,  that  they  not  only  let  him  go  untouched  but 
returned  to  his  companions  all  their  belongings.” 

At  Ahmadi  Banda  Gandhiii  explained  to  the  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  the  place  of  Civil  Disobedience  in  the 


Gopal  Chitra  Kuteer 
WITH  THE  NAWAR  OF  DERA 
“  You  are  very  clever,  Mr.  Gandhi.  You  have  bettered 
even  Hitler.  I  congratulate  you.” 

p.  127. 


ACROSS  THE  SALT  RANGE  H7 

programme  of  non-violence  and  its  relation  to  the  con¬ 
structive  programme. 

The  Bar  Association  of  Peshawar  utilized  Gandhiji’s 
presence  in  the  city  by  presenting  him  with  an  address  at 
the  Premier’s  residence  in  which  they  proudly  claimed 
him  as  one  of  their  confraternity  and  incidentally  also 
managed  to  blow  their  own  trumpet  a  little  by  adverting 
to  the  splendid  services  in  the  political  field  rendered  by 
the  leading  lights  of  the  profession.  Gandhiji,  in  a  witty 
little  speech,  while  thanking  them  for  the  honour  that 
they  had  done  him,  observed  that  he  was  hardly  entitled 
to  that  privilege,  in  the  first  place  because,  as  they  all 
knew,  he  had  been  disbarred  by  his  own  Inn  and  secondly, 
because  he  had  long  forgotten  his  law.  Of  late,  he  had 
more  often  been  engaged  in  breaking  laws  than  in  ex¬ 
pounding  or  interpreting  them  in  the  courts  of  the  land. 
Still  another  and,  perhaps,  his  most  vital  reason  was  his 
peculiar  views  about  lawyers  and  doctors  which  he  had 
recorded  in  his  booklet,  Indian  Home  Rule.  A  true  lawyer, 
he  told  them,  was  one  who  placed  truth  and  service  in 
the  first  place  and  the  emoluments  of  the  profession  in 
the  next  place  only.  He  did  not  know  whether  they  had 
all  adopted  that  ideal  but  if  they  pledged  themselves  to 
render  service  through  their  legal  acumen  in  an  altruistic 
spirit,  he  would  be  the  first  to  pay  them  his  homage. 

Before  leaving  Peshawar  Gandhiji  had  a  meeting 
with  the  members  of  the  Frontier  Ministry  when,  in  ful¬ 
filment  of  his  promises  made  at  various  places,  he  thrashed 
out  with  them  certain  political  and  administrative  matters 
round  which  a  lot  of  public  controversy  had  gathered. 
The  discussion  served  the  purpose  of  clarifying  the  posi¬ 
tion  with  regard  to  some  of  the  matters,  while  in  regard 
to  some  others,  definite  decisions  were  adopted  by  the 
Ministry  in  the  light  of  Gandhiji’s  remarks. 

A  high  official  from  Southern  India  who  sought  out 
Gandhiji  at  Peshawar,  put  to  him  a  pretty  poser  :  “  As 

I  move  from  the  south  northwards,  I  seem  to  confront 
a  different  humanity  altogether.  There  seems  to  be  no 
meeting-ground  between  the  type  here  and  that  found 


118 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


in  the  south.  Will  the  twain  ever  meet  ?  ”  Gandhiji’s 
reply  was  that  whilst  apparent  difference  was  there,  non¬ 
violence  was  the  golden  bridge  that  united  the  ferocious 
and  warlike  Pathan  and  the  mild  and  intellectual  South 
Indian.  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  who  had  accepted  non¬ 
violence  as  their  creed  ceased  to  be  different,  except  in  the 
degree  of  their  non-violent  valour,  from  people  in  other 
parts  of  India.  In  this  question  of  fusion  of  various  types, 
as  in  many  another  knotty  question,  the  moment  we 
adopt  the  non-violent  approach  all  difficulties  men  away. 

The  cis-Indus  District  of  Hazara,  the  last  to  be  visited 
during  Gandhiji’s  tour,  is  the  northernmost  district  of  the 
North-West  Frontier  Province  and  the  only  territory  of 
that  province  east  of  the  Indus.  It  lies  like  a  wedge  of 
British  territory  120  miles  in  length,  driven  in  between 
Kashmir  on  the  East  and  the  independent  hills  on  the 
West. 

Before  entering  it,  however,  Gandhiji  paid  a  brief  visit 
to  Bibhuti,  in  Chach  Ilaqa.  This  territory,  though  political¬ 
ly  and  geographically  a  part  of  the  Punjab,  is  linguistically 
and  in  respect  of  customs,  habits  and  mode  of  life 
of  its  people  closely  allied  to  the  North-West  Frontier 
Province.  They  had  requested  that  Pushtu-speaking  peo¬ 
ple  of  their  Ilaqa  should  be  permitted  to  join  the  Khudai 
Khidmatgar  movement  in  the  Frontier  Province.  Gan¬ 
dhiji  told  them  that  there  could  be  no  difficulty  in  their  so 
doing  :  “  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  is  an  organization  with 
its  headquarters  at  Utmanzai.  Any  one  who  signs  their 
pledge  and  can  speak  Pushtu  can  enrol  himself  as  a 
Khudai  Khidmatgar.  The  only  condition  is  that  he  can¬ 
not  simultaneously  be  on  the  register  of  any  other  organi¬ 
zation.  You  are,  therefore,  absolutely  free  to  enrol  as 
Khudai  Khidmatgars  if  you  like  and  no  special  permis¬ 
sion  is  needed  for  it.” 

While  driving  to  Bibhuti,  Gandhiji’s  car  had  a  slight 
accident  as  a  result  of  which  a  calf  was  knocked  down 
-and  partly  run  over.  The  local  Congressmen  accompany¬ 
ing  Badshah  Khan  did  not  hesitate  to  throw  the  whole 
blame  for  the  accident  on  opponents  of  the  Congress 


ACROSS  THE  SALT  RANGE 


119 


Ministry.  To  Gandhiji  this  readiness  on  the  part  of  Con¬ 
gress  friends  to  fasten  blame  on  opponents  without  suffi¬ 
cient  ground  savoured  of  intolerance  and  want  of  charity 
which  are  incompatible  with  the  attitude  of  non-violence. 

The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  have  proved  their  undoubted 
capacity  for  organization.  The  presence  of  a  picked  body 
of  Khudai  Khidmatgars  at  a  public  meeting  makes  all  the 
difference  between  order  and  disorder.  The  principle  of 
non-violence  requires  that  they  should  make  the  people 
do,  through  their  power  of  love,  all  those  things  that  the 
police  do  through  the  power  of  the  lathi  and  the  bullet. 
When  the  seedling  of  love  sprouts  forth  in  our  hearts  our 
petty  quarrels  and  mutual  bickerings  will  become  a  thing 

of  the  past . Take  today’s  incident  of  the  calf  that 

was  accidentally  run  over  by  our  motor  bus.  Love  should 
have  prompted  the  chauffeur  to  stop  the  car  immediately 
so  that  adequate  arrangements  might  be  made  for  the  care 
and  treatment  of  the  injured  animal.  One  of  our  party 
showed  what  seemed  to  me  unseemly  haste  in  naming  the 
so-called  opponents  as  the  deliberate  authors  of  the  acci¬ 
dent.  In  non-violence,  we  must  not  be  in  a  hurry  to 
ascribe  motives  to  the  opponent  or  regard  him  with  sus¬ 
picion  unless  we  have  proof  positive  for  it.  When  love 
fills  the  hearts  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  we  shall  have 
independence.  But  independence  will  not  come  to  us  till 
our  love  shines  out  in  our  littlest  acts.” 

“  We  must  send  someone  to  the  place  where  the  acci¬ 
dent  occurred,”  he  remarked  to  Badshah  Khan  at  the  end 
of  the  meeting,  “  to  offer  compensation  to  the  owner  of 
the  animal  and  to  take  the  calf  for  treatment  to  a  vet.” 

“Beshak”  (certainly),  replied  Badshah  Khan  and 
did  as  he  was  bidden. 

Gandhiji  reached  Haripur  on  the  evening  of  the  6th 
November  paying  a  visit  on  the  way  to  the  famous  Sikh 
shrine  of  Panja  Saheb  where  he  and  Badshah  Khan  were 
presented  with  sarapa  (dress  of  honour)  by  the  manage¬ 
ment  of  the  shrine.  The  scenes  of  disorder  at  Dera  Ismail 
Khan  were  repeated  at  Haripur.  He  was  taken  in  a  pro¬ 
cession  through  the  city  in  spite  of  strict  instructions  to 


120 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


the  contrary  and  in  spite  of  what  he  had  been  given  to 
understand.  It  took  more  than  one  hour  to  get  Gandhiji’s 
luggage  to  him,  owing  to  the  crush  of  the  people  who  had 
beleaguered  the  house  of  his  host.  The  other  gate  was 
crashed  before  we  had  been  there  many  hours.  The  next 
day  he  quietly  slipped  out  to  Abbottabad  early  in  the  morn¬ 
ing,  several  hours  before  the  time  fixed  for  departure. 

A  public  meeting  was  held  at  Haripur  at  evening. 
Here  again,  a  little  incident  gave  to  Gandhiji  his  cue.  Be¬ 
fore  the  meeting  commenced  a  letter  from  the  head  master 
of  the  local  high  school  was  handed  to  Gandhiji  lodging 
a  gentle  complaint  that  the  local  Congress  authorities  had 
failed  to  ask  for  his  formal  permission  for  holding  their 
meeting  on  the  school  grounds.  Commenting  upon  this 
in  his  speech,  Gandhiji  told  the  audience  that  observance 
of  perfect  courtesy  and  a  punctiliously  correct  behaviour 
were  as  much  part  of  non-violence  as  some  of  the  other 
and  bigger  things  of  which  he  had  been  telling  them  : 
“  Scientists  tell  us  that  we  are  descended  from  the  ourang. 
That  may  be  so,  but  it  is  not  man’s  destiny  to  live  and  die 
a  brute.  In  proportion  as  we  cultivate  non-violence  and 
voluntary  discipline  we  are  contra-distinguished  from 
brute  nature  and  fulfil  our  destiny.  One  of  the  obliga¬ 
tions  that  non-violence  places  upon  us  is  to  respect  the 
rights  even  of  the  weakest,  for  instance,  even  a  little 
child’s.” 

A  storm  in  a  tea  cup  was  caused  by  a  small  group 
of  “  Socialists  ”.  They  handed  to  Badshah  Khan  an 
address  which  they  wanted  to  present  to  Gandhiji,  but  as 
the  meeting  had  already  commenced  the  permission  could 
not  be  granted.  At  this  they  left  the  meeting  shouting 
unseemly  slogans.  .  Gandhiji  utilized  the  incident  to  em¬ 
phasize  the  necessity  of  forbearance  in  the  scheme  of 
non-violence :  “  We  must  meet  abuse  by  forbearance. 

Human  nature  is  so  constituted  that  if  we  take  absolutely 
no  notice  of  anger  or  abuse,  the  person  indulging  in  it 
will  soon  be  weary  of  it  and  stop.  We  should  harbour  no' 
resentment  against  those  who  tried  to  create  the  dis¬ 
turbance  which,  without  their  meaning  it*  has  taught  us 


ACROSS  THE  SALT  RANGE 


121 


a  valuable  little  lesson  in  forbearance.  A  satyagrahi 
always  regards  the  ‘  enemy  ’  as  a  potential  friend.  Dur¬ 
ing  half  a  century  of  experience  of  non-violence  I  have 
not  come  across  a  case  of  enmity  persisting  to  the  end  in. 
the  face  of  absolute  non-violence.” 


CHAPTER  XIII 


KHUDAI  KHIDMATGARS  AND  THEIR  CHIEF 

Summing  up  his  impressions  of  the  tour  in  a  signed 
article  afterwards,  Gandhiji  wrote  :  “  Whatever  the  Khu- 
dai  Khidmatgars  may  be  or  may  ultimately  turn  out  to 
be,  there  can  be  no  doubt  about  what  their  leader  wdiom 
they  delight  to  call  Badshah  Khan  is.  He  is  unquestion¬ 
ably  a  man  of  God.  He  believes  in  His  living  presence 
and  knows  that  his  movement  will  prosper  only  if  God 
wills  it.  Having  put  his  whole  soul  into  his  cause,  he 
remains  indifferent  as  to  what  happens.  It  is  enough  for 
him  to  realize  that  there  is  no  deliverance  for  the  Pathan 
except  through  out  and  out  acceptance  of  non-violence. 
He  does  not  take  pride  in  the  fact  that  the  Pathan  is  a 
fine  fighter.  He  appreciates  his  bravery  but  he  thinks 
that  he  has  been  spoilt  by  overpraise.  He  does  not  want 
to  see  his  Pathan  as  a  goonda  of  society.  He  believes  that 
the  Pathan  has  been  exploited  and  kept  in  ignorance.  He 
wants  the  Pathan  to  become  braver  than  he  is  and  wants 
him  to  add  true  knowledge  to  his  bravery.  This  he  thinks 
can  only  be  achieved  through  non-violence. 

“  And  as  Badshah  Khan  believes  in  my  non-violence, 
he  wanted  me  to  be  as  long  as  I  could  among  the  Khudai 
Khidmatgars.  For  me  I  needed  no  temptation  to  go  to 
them.  I  was  myself  anxious  to  make  their  acquaintance. 
I  wanted  to  reach  their  hearts.  I  do  not  know  that  I  have 
done  so  now.  Anyway  I  made  the  attempt. 

“  But  before  I  proceed  to  describe  how  I  approached 
my  task  and  what  I  did  I  must  say  a  word  about  Badshah 
Khan  as  my  host.  His  one  care  throughout  the  tour  was 
to  make  me  as  comfortable  as  the  circumstances  permit¬ 
ted.  He  spared  no  pains  to  make  me  proof  against  priva¬ 
tion  or  discomfort.  All  my  wants  were  anticipated  by 
him.  And  there  was  no  fuss  about  what  he  did.  It  was 


122 


KHUDAI  KHIDMATGARS  AND  THEIR  CHIEF  123 

all  perfectly  natural  for  him.  It  was  all  from  the  heart. 
There  is  no  humbug  about  him.  He  is  an  utter  stranger 
to  affectation.  His  attention  is  therefore  never  embar¬ 
rassing,  never  obtrusive.  And  so  when  we  parted  at 
Taxila  our  eyes  were  wet.  The  parting  was  difficult.  And 
we  parted  in  the  hope  that  we  would  meet  again  probably 
in  March  next.  The  Frontier  Province  must  remain  a 
place  of  frequent  pilgrimage  for  me.  For  though  the  rest 
of  India  may  fail  to  show  true  non-violence  there  seems 
to  be  ground  for  hoping  that  the  Frontier  Province  will 
pass  through  the  fiery  ordeal.  The  reason  is  simple.  Bad- 
shah  Khan  commands  willing  obedience  from  his  ad¬ 
herents,  said  to  number  more  than  one  hundred  thousand. 
They  hang  on  his  lips.  He  has  but  to  say  the  word  and 
it  is  carried  out.  Whether  in  spite  of  all  the  veneration 
he  commands,  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  will  pass  the  test 
in  constructive  non-violence  remains  to  be  seen. 

“  At  the  outset  both  Badshah  Khan  and  I  had  come 
to  the  conclusion  that  instead  of  addressing  the  whole 
of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  at  the  various  centres,  I  should 
confine  myself  to  the  leaders.  This  would  save  my  energy 
and  be  its  wisest  use.  And  so  it  proved  to  be.  During 
the  five  weeks,  we  visited  all  the  centres,  and  the  talks 
lasted  for  one  hour  or  more  at  each  centre.  I  found  Bad¬ 
shah  Khan  to  be  a  very  competent  and  faithful  interpreter. 
And  as  he  believed  in  what  I  said,  he  put  into  the  transla¬ 
tion  all  the  force  he  could  command.  He  is  a  born  orator 
and  speaks  with  dignity  and  effect. 

“  At  every  meeting  I  repeated  the  warning  that  un¬ 
less  they  felt  that  in  non-violence  they  had  come  into  pos¬ 
session  of  a  force  infinitely  superior  to  the  one  they  had 
and  in  the  use  of  which  they  were  adepts,  they  should 
have  nothing  to  do  with  non-violence  and  resume  the 
arms  they  possessed  before.  It  must  never  be  said  of  the 
Khudai  Khidmatgars  that  once  so  brave,  they  had  become 
or  been  made  cowards  under  Badshah  Khan’s  influence. 
Their  bravery  consisted  not  in  being  good  marksmen  but 
in  defying  death  and  being  ever  ready  to  bare  their  breasts 
to  the  bullets.  This  bravery  they  had  to  keep  intact  and 


124 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


be  ready  to  show  whenever  occasion  demanded.  And  for 
the  truly  brave  such  occasions  occurred  often  enough 
without  seeking. 

“  This  non-violence  was  not  a  mere  passive  quality. 
It  was  the  mightiest  force  God  had  endowed  man  with. 
Indeed,  possession  of  non-violence  distinguished  man  from 
the  brute  creation.  It  was  inherent  in  every  human  being, 
but  in  most  it  lay  dormant.  Perhaps  the  word  non-vio¬ 
lence  was  an  inadequate  rendering  of  ahimsa  which  itself 
was  an  incomplete  connotation  of  all  it  was  used  for  con¬ 
veying.  A  better  rendering  would  be  love  or  goodwill. 
And  goodwill  came  into  play  only  when  there  was  ill-wilL 
matched  against  it.  To  be  good  to  the  good  is  an  exchange 
at  par.  A  rupee  against  a  rupee  gives  no  index  to  its 
quality.  It  does  when  it  is  matched  against  an  anna. 
Similarly  a  man  of  goodwill  is  known  only  when  he 
matches  himself  against  one  of  ill-will. 

“  This  non-violence  or  goodwill  was  to  be  exercised 
not  only  against  Englishmen  but  it  must  have  full  play 
even  among  ourselves.  Non-violence  against  Englishmen 
may  be  a  virtue  of  necessity,  and  may  easily  be  a  cover 
for  cowardice  or  simple  weakness.  It  may  be,  as  it  often. 
is,  a  mere  expedient.  But  it  could  not  be  an  expedient 
when  we  have  an  equal  choice  between  violence  and  non¬ 
violence.  Such  instances  occur  in  domestic  relations,  social 
and  political  relations  among  ourselves,  not  only  between 
rival  sects  of  the  same  faith  but  persons  belonging  to  dif¬ 
ferent  faiths.  We  cannot  be  truly  tolerant  towards 
Englishmen  if  we  are  intolerant  towards  our  neighbours 
and  equals.  Hence  our  goodwill,  if  we  had  it  in  any 
degree,  would  be  tested  almost  every  day.  And  if  we 
actively  exercised  it,  we  would  become  habituated  to  its 
use  in  wider  fields  till  at  last  it  became  second  nature  with 
us. 

“  The  very  name  Badshah  Khan  had  adopted  for  them 
had  showed  that  they  were  to  serve,  not  to  injure, 
humanity.  For  God  took  and  needed  no  personal  service. 
He  served  His  creatures  without  demanding  any  service 
for  Himself  in  return.  *He  was  unique  in  this  as  in  many 


ON  HEALING  MISSION  IN  RIOT-TORN  BIHAR  (1947) 
“  Many  of  us  have  ceased  to  be  men.” 

p.  165. 


KHUDAI  KHIDMATGARS  AND  THEIR  CHIEF  125 

-other  things.  Therefore  servants  of  God  were  to  be  known 
by  the  service  they  rendered  to  His  creatures. 

“  Hence  the  non-violence  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
had  to  show  itself  in  their  daily  action.  It  could  be  so 
exhibited  only  if  they  were  non-violent  in  thought,  word 
and  deed. 

“  And  even  as  a  person  who  relied  upon  the  use  of 
force  in  his  daily  dealings  would  have  to  undergo  a  mili¬ 
tary  training,  so  will  a  servant  of  God  have  to  go  through 
a  definite  training.  This  was  provided  for  in  the  very 
foundation  resolution  of  the  special  Congress  of  1920.  It 
was  broadened  from  time  to  time.  It  was  never  toned 
down  to  my  knowledge.  The  exercise  of  active  goodwill 
was  to  be  tested  through  communal  unity,  shedding  of 
untouehability  by  Hindus,  the  home-  and  hand-manufac¬ 
ture  and  use  of  khadi  —  a  sure  symbol  of  oneness  with 
the  millions  —  and  prohibition  of  intoxicating  drinks  and 
drugs.  This  fourfold  programme  was  called  a  process 
of  purification  and  a  sure  method  of  gaining  organic  free¬ 
dom  for  the  country.  This  programme  was  followed  but 
half-heartedly  by  Congressmen  and  the  country,  thus  be¬ 
traying  a  lack  of  living  faith  in  non-violence,  or  faith  in 
the  method  devised  for  its  daily  practice,  or  both.  But  the 
Khudai  Khidmatgars  were  expected  and  believed  to  have 
a  living  faith  in  non-violence.  Therefore  they  would  be 
expected  to  follow  out  the  whole  of  the  constructive  self¬ 
purification  programme  of  the  Congress.  I  have  added  to 
it  village  sanitation,  hygiene  and  simple  medical  relief  in 
the  villages.  A  Khudai  Khidmatgar  will  be  known  by 
his  works.  He  cannot  be  in  a  village  without  his  making 
it  cleaner  and  affording  help  to  the  villagers  in  their  sim¬ 
ple  ailments.  Hospitals  and  the  like  are  toys  of  the  rich 
and  are  available  for  the  most  part  only  to  the  city-dwel¬ 
lers.  Efforts  are  no  doubt  being  made  to  cover  the  land 
with  dispensaries.  But  the  cost  is  prohibitive.  Whereas 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  could,  with  a  little  but  substan¬ 
tial  training,  easily  give  relief  in  the  majority  of  cases 
of  illness  that  occurred  in  the  villages. 


126 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


“  I  told  the  leaders  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  that 
Civil  Disobedience  was  the  end  of  non-violence,  by  no 
means  its  beginning.  Yet  I  started  in  this  country  at  the 
wrong  end  in  1918.  I  was  overwhelmed  by  necessity.  The 
country  had  not  come  to  harm,  only  because  I,  claiming 
to  be  an  expert  in  non-violent  technique,  knew  when  and 
how  to  retrace  our  steps.  Suspension  of  Civil  Disobe¬ 
dience  at  Patna  was  part  of  the  technique.  I  have  just 
as  much  faith  in  the  constructive  programme  of  1920  as 
I  had  then.  I  could  not  lead  a  campaign  of  Civil  Disobe¬ 
dience  in  terms  of  Puma  Swaraj,  without  due  fulfilment 
of  the  programme.  The  right  to  Civil  Disobedience  ac¬ 
crues  only  to  those  who  know  and  practise  the  duty  of 
voluntary  obedience  to  laws  whether  made  by  them  or 
others.  Obedience  should  come  not  from  fear  of  the  con¬ 
sequences  of  the  breach  but  because  it  is  the  duty  to  obey 
with  all  our  heart  and  not  merely  mechanically.  Without 
the  fulfilment  of  this  preliminary  condition,  Civil  Disobe¬ 
dience  is  civil  only  in  name  and  never  of  the  strong  but 
of  the  weak.  It  is  not  charged  with  goodwill,  i.e.,  non¬ 
violence.  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  had  shown  in  un¬ 
mistakable  terms  their  bravery  in  suffering  during  the 
Civil  Disobedience  days  as  did  many  thousands  in  the 
other  provinces.  But  it  was  not  proof  positive  of  goodwill 
at  heart.  And  it  would  be  a  deterioration  in  the  Pathan 
if  he  was  non-violent  only  in  appearance.  For  he  must 
not  be  guilty  of  weakness. 

“  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  listened  to  all  I  said  with 
rapt  attention.  Their  faith  in  non-violence  is  not  as  yet 
independent  of  Badshah  Khan.  It  is  derived  from  him. 
But  it  is  none  the  less  living  so  long  as  they  have  unques¬ 
tioning  faith  in  their  leader  who  enjoys  undisputed  king¬ 
dom  over  their  hearts.  And  Badshah  Khan’s  faith  is  no 
lip  profession.  His  whole  heart  is  in  it.  Let  the  doubt¬ 
ers  live  with  him,  as  I  have  all  these  precious  five  weeks, 
and  their  doubt  will  be  dissolved  like  mist  before  the 
morning  sun.” 

“  This  is  how  the  whole  tour  struck  a  very  well-known 
Pathan  who  met  me  during  the  last  days  of  the  tour  r 


KHUDAI  KHIDMATGARS  AND  THEIR  CHIEF  127 

*  I  like  what  you  are  doing.  You  are  very  clever  (I  do- 
not  know  that  cunning  is  not  the  right  word).  You  are 
making  my  people  braver  than  they  are.  You  are  teaching 
them  to  husband  their  strength.  Of  course  it  is  good  to  be 
non-violent  up  to  a  point.  That  they  will  be  under  your 
teaching.  Hitler  has  perfected  the  technique  of  attaining 
violent  ends  without  the  actual  use  of  violence.  But  you 
have  bettered  even  Hitler.  You  are  giving  our  men  train¬ 
ing  in  non-violence,  in  dying  without  killing,  so  if  ever  the 
occasion  comes  for  the  use  of  force,  they  will  use  it  as 
never  before  and  certainly  more  effectively  than  any  other 
body  of  persons.  I  congratulate  you.’  I  was  silent  and 
I  had  no  heart  to  write  out  a  reply  to  disillusion  him.  I 
smiled  and  became  pensive.  I  like  the  compliment  that 
the  Pathans  would  be  braver  than  before  (as  a  result  of 
and)  under  my  teaching.  I  do  not  know  an  instance  of 
a.  person  becoming  a  coward  under  my  influence.  But  the 
friend’s  deduction  was  deadly.  If  in  the  last  heat  the  Khu- 
dai  Khidmatgars  prove  untrue  to  the  creed  they  profess  to- 
believe,  non-violence  was  certainly  not  in  their  hearts. 
’The  proof  will  soon  come.  If  they  zealously  and  faithfully 
follow  the  constructive  programme,  there  is  no  danger 
of  their  fulfilling  the  prognostication  of  the  critic.  But 
they  will  be  found  among  the  bravest  of  men  when  the 
test  comes.” 


CHAPTER  XIV 

MORE  SERMONS  ON  NON-VIOLENCE 

Unlike  the  trans-Indus  Districts  of  Peshawar,  Mar- 
dan,  Kohat,  Bannu  and  Dera  Ismail  Khan,  the  cis-Indus 
District  of  Hazara  is  not  predominantly  Pathan  in  its  popu¬ 
lation  nor  is  the  Pathan  element  here  as  unmellowed  as 
in  the  other  districts.  Comprised  of  the  hilly  tracts  of 
Manshera  and  Abottabad  and  the  well-watered  Tahsil  of 
Haripur,  the  district  is  more  or  less  co-extensive  with  the 
territory  of  Takshashila  which  was  once  a  flourishing  cis- 
Indus  Hindu  kingdom  with  its  capital  at  Taxila,  the  seat 
of  the  famous  university  to  which  “  flocked  students  not 
only  from  the  farthest  corners  of  India  but  also  from  places 
beyond  the  Gobi  desert  in  Central  Asia.”  Gandhiji’s  pro¬ 
gramme  in  the  district  included  visits  to  the  headquarters 
of  all  the  three  tahsils.  Arriving  at  Abbottabad  from 
Haripur  on  the  morning  of  7th  November  several  hours 
before  the  scheduled  time,  he  took  his  host  Rai  Bahadur 
Paramanand  by  surprise.  Situated  at  a  height  of  4,102 
feet  above  sea  level,  and  surrounded  by  the  indescri¬ 
bable  beauty  of  the  Kagan  valley  on  the  northern  and 
the  girdle  of  snow-capped  peaks  on  the  Manshera  side, 
Abbottabad  is  a  charming  little  spot  but  for  its  past  asso¬ 
ciations.  There  are  not  many  places  in  India  that  have 
paid  such  a  heavy  price  for  their  first  lesson  in  non-vio¬ 
lence  as  Abbottabad  had  to  during  the  Khilafat  days.  And 
oven  today  a  casual  ramble  about  the  town  served  to  bring 
home  to  the  visitor  the  painful  fact  that  here,  as  in  many 
another  hill  station  in  India,  the  civilian  inhabitant  was 
the  underdog  in  his  own  home.  All  the  choicest  places 
were  reserved  for  the  military  and  the  ruling  caste.  I  was 
shown  one  instance  where  an  Indian  gentleman  was  not 
permitted  to  occupy  his  own  bungalow  in  the  civil  lines, 
because  the  two  adjacent  bungalows  on  either  side  of  it, 
also  his.  property,  had  been  rented  out  to  saheblogs  who 

128 


I 


TAXILA  —  DISTANT  VIEW 
'  Where  the  Macedonian  met  more  than  his  match.’ 


MORE  SERMONS  ON  NON-VIOLENCE  129 

would  not  tolerate  the  presence  of  a  mere  *  native  ’  in 
their  midst ! 

In  his  village  home  Badshah  Khan  is  popularly  known 
as  the  fakir,  as  his  heart  is  always  with  the  poor.  The 
meaning  of  it  was  vividly  brought  home  to  us  when  early 
one  morning  he  took  out  some  members  of  the  party  for 
a  little  mountain  climbing.  “We  must  watch  the  sunrise 
from  that  mountain  top,”  he  insisted  as  he  dragged  us 
out  willy  nilly  into  the  nipping  morning  cold.  The  spec¬ 
tacle  presented  by  the  russet  mountain  sides  bathed  in  the 
glory  and  freshness  of  the  early  winter  morning  was  most 
inspiring,  while  the  panorama  of  terraced  cultivation, 
which  rose  tier  upon  tier  from  the  gloomy  depths  of  the 
valleys  below  to  the  dizzy  pine-clad  tops  of  the  surround¬ 
ing  hills,  vividly  set  forth  before  one  the  ultimate  triumph 
of  the  principle  of  non-violence  in  the  form  of  patient 
industry  and  co-operation  of  millions  of  human  hands  in 
the  obstinate  duel  against  nature  that  goes  on  everlasting¬ 
ly  among  these  hills.  Badshah  Khan  took  us  to  one  of 
these  terraced  fields  to  show  us  with  what  infinite  toil  the 
work  of  preparing  bare,  stony  mountain-sides  for  cultiva¬ 
tion  is  carried  out.  The  struggle  proceeds  slowly,  pain¬ 
fully,  inch  by  inch.  It  may  take  years  to  remove  the  boul¬ 
ders  with  the  unaided  labour  of  the  hand  from  a  narrow, 
little  strip  of  the  field.  And  yet  as  soon  as  the  land  begins 
to  yield  something,  the  state  steps  in  to  claim  land  reve¬ 
nue.  “  It  is  a  most  iniquitous  and  heartless  practice,”  broke 
out  Badshah  Khan.  “  If  I  had  the  power  I  would  grant 
subsidy  for  this  kind  of  reclamation  work  instead  of  taxing 
it.  This  is  shameless  grab.” 

There  was  a  solitary  peasant  hut  in  the  midst  of  the 
field.  Badshah  Khan  insisted  that  my  sister,  Dr.  Sushila 
Nayyar,  who  accompanied  us  should  visit  the  peasant 
family  in  the  hut  and  see  whether  they  needed  any  medi¬ 
cal  help.  And  when  she  presently  returned  and  told  him 
how  she  had  suggested  a  simple  remedy  to  one  of  the 
family  who  was  suffering  from  a  minor  malady,  his  joy 
knew  no  bounds.  “  Mahatmaji,  I  hate  politics,”  He  had 
repeated  to  Gandhiji  more  than  once  during  the  tour.  “  It 

P-9 


I 


130 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


is  an  empty  and  barren  maze.  I  wish  to  run  away  from 
it  and  to  occupy  myself  with  humanitarian  service  of  the 
poorest  in  their  homes.”  On  our  way  back  we  suddenly 
found  him  missing  from  the  party.  He  had  accidentally 
found  an  occupation  after  his  heart.  A  young  Pathan  lad 
was  driving  an  ass  loaded  with  stones.  The  ass  had  stum¬ 
bled  and  the  load  had  slipped  off  its  back.  Noticing  his 
struggles  to  replace  the  stones  upon  the  animal’s  back, 
Badshah  Khan  had  stopped  to  help  him.  He  invited  the 
rest  of  the  party  too  to  come  and  help.  They  all  came 
and  soon  the  load  was  replaced  on  the  animal’s  back.  At. 
the  end  of  it,  as  he  wended  his  way  home,  it  was  with  a 
distinct  feeling  of  satisfaction  that  he  had  begun  the  day 
in  a  manner  worthy  of  a  Khudai  Khidmatgar. 

All  the  important  events  in  the  programme  at  Abbott- 
abad  were  crowded  into  the  second  day  of  Gandhiji’s  stay. 
At  Manshera  there  was  a  public  meeting  on  the  8th  of 
November  at  which  an  address  on  behalf  of  the  inhabi¬ 
tants  of  Manshera  was  presented  to  Gandhiji  and  another 
on  behalf  of  the  Kisan  Committee,  Manshera.  The  latter 
drew  Gandhiji’s  attention  to  and  prayed  for  speedy  aboli¬ 
tion  of  some  amazingly  ante-diluvian  and  oppressive 
features  of  the  land  tenure  system  in  certain  parts  of  Man¬ 
shera  Tahsil.  For  instance,  under  it  (i)  hereditary-occu¬ 
pancy  tenants  had  to  pay  to  the  landlord  from  As.  4  to 
As.  12  in  the  rupee  as  malikana  (ownership  fee)  over  and 
above  the  land  revenue;  (ii)  they  had  to  furnish  begar  (for¬ 
ced  labour)  for  a  certain  number  of  days  in  the  year  with¬ 
out  any  compensation  (The  quota  of  begar,  however,  was 
not  fixed  according  to  the  size  of  the  holding  but  varied 
with  the  number  of  incumbents  among  whom  it  might 
be  divided.  To  take  an  illustration,  supposing  five  hands 
was  the  quota  of  begar  fixed  for  a  holding  of  40  kanals. 
Then,  if  on  the  death  of  the  landlord  the  holding  was 
subdivided  among  eight  sons  of  the  landlord,  each  one  of 
them  would  claim  from  the  occupancy  holder  free  labour 
of  five  hands  by  way  of  begar  ;  (iii)  inheritance  in  land 
went  all  to  the  sons  ;  daughters  were  completely  excluded. 
In  addition  to  it  the  address  mentioned  a  number  of 


I 


MORE  SERMONS  ON  NON-VIOLENCE  131 

« 

abwabs  or  illegal  exactions  and  instances  of  chicanery, 
fraud  and  oppression  resorted  to  by  the  landlords  against 
the  cultivators.  All  that  Gandhi ji  could  say  about  these 
revelations  was  that  even  if  a  fraction  of  them  were  true, 
they  constituted  a  disgraceful  anachronism  which  ought 
not  to  continue  any  longer,  especially  when  there  was  a 
Congress  Ministry. 

The  address  on  behalf  of  the  general  public  of  Man- 
shera  was  perhaps  the  most  remarkable  presented  to 
Gandhiji  throughout  his  tour.  It  contained  among  other 
things  the  following  significant  words  :  “  You  will 

understand  and  allow  for  a  little  pardonable  pride 
on  our  part  for  the  way  in  which  we,  of  the  Frontier 
Province,  have  taken  up  and  translated  into  practice  your 
gospel  of  non-violence.  Violence  used  to  be  our  main 
preoccupation  in  life  till  Badshah  Khan,  the  pride  of  the 
Afghans,  weaned  us  from  it.  Non-violence  may  have  no 
special  significance  for  those  who  are  born  into  that  creed. 
But  for  us  Pathans  it  has  provided  the  specific  which  we 
so  badly  needed  for  our  ills.  The  Pathan  is  therefore 
particularly  fitted  to  understand  and  appreciate  its  worth. 
Islam  promulgated  peace,  i.e.,  non-violence  as  the  rule  of 
life  and  permitted  the  use  of  force  only  as  an  exception. 
But  the  Pathan,  like  the  rest  of  the  Mussulmans,  had 
allowed  the  exception  to  usurp  the  place  of  the  central 
principle  and  almost  forgotten  the  central  teaching.  It 
was  for  you,  sir,  to  take  us  back  to  this  central  doctrine 
which  we  had  nearly  lost  sight  of.  We  assure  you  that 
in  a  very  short  time  the  Pathans  of  the  North-West 
Frontier  Province  will,  without  distinction  of  caste,  creed 
or  religion,  come  to  constitute  the  spear-head  of  India’s 
non-violent  fight  for  freedom.” 

Gandhiji  replying  assured  them  that  he  set  great 
store  by  what  they  had  already  achieved  in  the  field  of 
non-violence.  But  believing  as  he  did  in  the  old  adage, 
that  from  him  who  has,  much  more  is  expected,  he  warn¬ 
ed  them  that  he  would  not  rest  satisfied  till  they  had 
fulfilled  their  mission  of  achieving  through  their  non¬ 
violence  not  only  their  own  freedom  but  the  freedom  of 


132 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


India.  He  had  visited  their  province  a  second  time  to 
know  them  more  intimately  and  to  understand  how  non¬ 
violence  worked  in  their  midst,  and  it  was  his  intention 
to  return  to  them  a  third  time,  when  he  hoped  once  more 
to  pick  up  the  threads  of  various  problems  where  he  had 
left  them. 

Speaking  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  earlier,  he  had 
explained  to  them  that  the  basis  of  all  non-violent  activity 
was  or  should  be  love  :  “It  is  not  enough  not  to  hate  the 
enemy.  One  should  feel  in  one’s  heart  warmth  of  fellow- 
feeling  towards  him.  It  has  become  the  fashion  these 
days  to  say  that  society  cannot  be  organized  or  run  on 
non-violent  lines.  I  join  issue  on  that  point.  In  a  family, 
when  a  father  slaps  his  delinquent  child,  the  latter  does 
not  think  of  retaliating.  He  obeys  his  father  not  because 
of  the  deterrant  effect  of  the  slap  but  because  of  offended 
love  which  he  senses  behind  it.  That  in  my  opinion  is 
an  epitome  of  the  way  in  which  society  is  or  should  be 
governed.  What  is  true  of  the  family  must  be  true  of 
society  which  is  but  a  larger  family.  It  is  man’s  imagina¬ 
tion  that  divides  the  world  into  warring  groups  of  ene¬ 
mies  and  friends.  In  the  ultimate  resort  it  is  the  power 
of  love  that  acts  even  in  the  midst  of  the  clash  and  sus¬ 
tains  the  world. 

“  I  am  told  that  the  Red  Shirts  here  are  Red  Shirts 
only  in  name.  I  hope  the  allegation  is  baseless.  I  know 
that  Badshah  Khan  is  seriously  disturbed  at  the  infiltra¬ 
tion  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement  with  undesira¬ 
ble  and  self-seeking  elements.  I  share  with  him  his 
feeling  that  mere  accession  of  numbers,  unless  they  are 
true  exponents  of  the  creed  which  they  profess,  will  only 
weaken  instead  of  adding  strength  to  the  movement. 

“  The  Red  Shirt  movement  today  has  drawn  the  at¬ 
tention  of  the  whole  of  India  and  even  outside.  And  yet 
what  it  has  achieved  is  only  a  small  fraction  of  what  still 
remains  to  be  achieved.  I  implicitly  accept  the  assurance 
given  by  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  that  they  are  anxious 
to  understand  and  practise  the  doctrine  of  non-violence 
in  full.  There  are  tremendous  heights  before  them  to  be 


MORE  SERMONS  ON  NON-VIOLENCE 


133 


scaled.  The  programme  of  constructive  non-violence 
that  I  have  placed  before  £hem  is  self-acting  when  once  it 
is  well  started.  Its  enforcement  will  be  a  sure  test,  too, 
of  the  earnestness  and  sincerity  of  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars.” 

Returning  to  Abbottabad  in  the  afternoon,  Gandhi ji 
paid  a  visit  to  the  local  Harijan  temple  and  was  pleased 
to  learn  that  in  Abbottabad  at  least  the  Harijans  suffered 
under  no  disabilities  in  respect  of  the  admission  of  their 
children  to  schools  and  the  use  of  wells  and  other  public 
amenities.  He  also  visited  the  Govind  Girls’  School  which 
was  the  fruit  of  the  labour  of  love  of  our  hostess  at  Abbott¬ 
abad. 

The  minorities’  deputation  met  Gandhi  ji  in  the  after¬ 
noon  to  discuss  with  him  the  difficulties  and  disabilities  of 
the  minorities  in  the  North-West  Frontier  Province.  What 
disturbed  them  particularly  was.  that  the  incidence 
of  violent  crime  had  steadily  increased  since  the  con¬ 
stitution  of  the  North-West  Frontier  Province  into  a 
separate  province.  They  suggested  that  in  view  of  the 
growing  menace  of  insecurity,  firearms  and  training  in 
their  use  ought  to  be  provided  free  to  the  minority  popu¬ 
lation  settled  on  the  border,  to  facilitate  self-protection. 
They  agreed,  however,  that  the  problem  of  trans-border 
raids  could  be  finally  and  adequately  solved  only  by  the 
majority  community  being  awakened  to  its  sense  of  duty 
towards  the  minority  community.  Gandhiji  in  reply  told 
them  that  whilst  he  could  support  their  demand  that 
licences  for  keeping  firearms  should  be  freely  issued  on 
application,  it  would  be  too  much  to  expect  the  Govern¬ 
ment  to  distribute  firearms  free  amongst  the  entire  border 
population.  They  could  raise  a  fund  for  free  distribution 
of  firearms  if  they  wanted,  but  he  had  his  doubts  whether 
free  distribution  of  and  training  in  the  use  of  firearms 
would  solve  the  question  of  trans-border  insecurity.  If 
the  experience  during  the  recent  raid  at  Bannu  was  any 
guide,  such  a  step  would  prove  to  be  an  expensive 
pedantry.  During  the  Bannu  raid,  he  was  told,  only  one 
gun  on  the  part  of  the  citizens  was  in  play  although  there 


134 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


was  no  lack  of  firearms  in  the  city  at  the  time  of  the  raid 
and  even  that  gun  caused  more  casualties  among  the  pub¬ 
lic  than  among  the  raiders.  He,  however,  agreed  with 
them  in  regard  to  what  they  had  observed  about  the  duty 
of  the  majority  community.  Badshah  Khan  was  trying  to 
prepare  the  Klrudai  Khidmatgars  for  discharging  their 
duty  of  protecting  citizens  against  raids. 

The  deputationists  discussed  several  other  things  with 
Gandhiji,  who  told  them  they  had  better  discuss  them 
with  Maulana  Abul  Kalam  Azad  *  and  perhaps  with  Babu 
Rajendraprasad,  f  who  were  deputed  by  the  Working 
Committee  to  visit  the  Frontier  Province. 

A  few  remarks  in  connection  with  the  position  of 
these  minority  elements  in  the  North-West  Frontier  Pro¬ 
vince  at  the  time  of  Gandhiji’s  visit  would  not  be  out  of 
place  here.  The  total  population  of  the  North-West  Fron¬ 
tier  Province  was  then  24.7  lakhs,  out  of  which  22.5  lakhs 
were  Mussulmans,  1.5  lakhs  Hindus,  47.9  thousand  Sikhs, 
16.4  thousand  Christians,  62  Parsees,  11  Jews  and  3  Bud¬ 
dhists.  Expressed  in  percentages  the  population  of  Mus¬ 
sulmans  varied  from  95  per  cent  in  the  Hazara  District 
to  86  per  cent  in  Dera  Ismail  Khan.  Money-lending  and 
trade  were  predominantly  in  the  hands  of  Hindus  and 
Sikhs,  who  in  the  past,  owing  to  their  better  education, 
held  more  than  their  share  in  public  services.  Of  late, 
they  had  been  exposed  to  growing  Muslim  competition, 
and  competition  had  brought  in  its  train  the  spirit  of 
rivalry,  which  in  its  turn  served  further  to  proyoke  the 
nemesis  that  inevitably  follows  success.  The  successful 
Rai  Bahadur  who  accumulated  a  vast  fortune  out  of  his 
military  contracts  naturally  excited  the  greed  of  the  trans- 
border  Waziri  and  Mahsud  raider,  who  justified  to  himself 
his  predatory  activity  by  conveniently  equating  the  rich 
man  with  the  agent  who  helped  to  equip  the  mili¬ 
tary  machine  that  led  expeditions  into  tribal  terri- 

*  The  leader  of  the  Nationalist  Indian  Muslims.  He  was  later 
elected  President  of  the  Congress. 

t  Member  of  the  Congress  Working  Committee,  at  present  Pre¬ 
sident  of  the  Indian  Constituent  Assembly. 


MORE  SERMONS  ON  NON-VIOLENCE  135 

tory.  To  the  Mussulman  politician,  Congressite  or 
otherwise,  he  gave  ground  for  the  complaint  that 
whilst  he  made  his  fortune  in  their  province  and 
claimed  protection  and  special  privileges  as  a  member 
of  the  minority  community,  he  was  anxious  only  to 
bask  in  the  sunshine  of  official  favour  and  never 
showed  any  inclination  to  help  any  progressive  cause 
either  with  money  or  personal  service.  Talent  and  effi¬ 
ciency  in  members  of  a  minority  community  are  likely 
to  become  a  trap  and  a  snare  unless  they  are  joined  to  a 
spirit  of  altruistic  service.  The  majority  community  will 
soon  learn  to  love  and  treasure  them  if  they  use  their 
superior  talents  and  efficiency  for  service  of  the  province 
of  their  adoption.  They  will  only  arouse  antagonism  if 
their  superior  talents  and  efficiency%re  only  cited  as  an 
.argument  for  grabbing  more  positions  of  vantage  and 
power.  ^ 

At  one  place  it  was  complained  that  the  Hindus  and 
Sikhs  regarded  contact  with  the  Mussulmans  as  polluting. 
This,  Gandhiji  pointed  out,  if  true,  was  a  travesty  of  true 
religion.  An  equal  regard  and  reverence  for  faiths  other 
than  one’s  own  is  a  duty  everywhere  and  always.  But,  in 
the  case  of  a  microscopic  minority  that  is  placed  in  the 
midst  of  an  overwhelming  majority  holding  a  different 
faith  from  its  own,  it  becomes  the  primary  condition  of 
its  existence.  If,  however,  it  is  a  virtue  of  necessity  for 
the  minority  community,  to  hold  in  due  respect  the  faith 
and  feelings  of  the  majority  community,  it  should  be  the 
privilege  and  duty  of  the  majority  community  to  show 
scrupulous  regard  for  the  faiths  and  feelings  of  the  mino¬ 
rities. 

What  gave  the  keenest  satisfaction  to  Gandhiji  was 
the  fact  that  throughout  the  tour  not  even  the  bitterest 
critics  of  Dr.  Khan  Saheb’s  Ministry  charged  the  Khan 
Brothers  with  harbouring  communal  bias  or  questioned 
their  sincerity. 


CHAPTER  XV 

THE  SHADOW  OF  PARTING 

The  programme  at  Abbottabad  concluded  with  a 
public  meeting  at  which  several  addresses  and  a  consoli¬ 
dated  purse  of  Rs.  1,125  were  presented  to  Gandhiji  on 
behalf  of  the  whole  district.  Piquancy  was  added  to  the 
proceedings  by  the  circumstance  that  the  framers  of  the 
address  had  allowed  their  pen  to  run  away  with  their 
feelings  and  indulged  in  language  of  wild  hyperbole  to 
greet  Gandhiji,  whom  they  described  as  “  the  greatest  man 
on  earth  Gandhiji  in  a  reply  which  was  full  of  delicate 
banter  gave  them  a  severe  castigation,  for  their  use  of  un¬ 
balanced  language,  which  they  should  remember  for  the 
rest  of  their  lives.  I  thank  you  for  the  address  that  you 
have  presented  to  me,”  he  began.  “  You  have  in  your 
address  expressed  your  gratification  at  having  in  your 
midst  ‘  the  greatest  man  on  earth  ’.  I  wondered  as  I 
listened  to  your  address  as  to  who  that  ‘  greatest  man  r 
could  be.  Certainly  it  could  not  be  I.  I  know  my  short¬ 
comings  but  too  well.  There  is  a  celebrated  story  about 
Solon  the  great  law-giver  of  Athens.  He  was  asked  by 
Croesus,  who  was  reputed  to  be  the  wealthiest  man  of  his 
age.  to  name  the  happiest  man  on  earth.  Croesus  had 
fondly  hoped  that  Solon  would  name  him.  But  Solon  re¬ 
plied  that  he  could  say  nothing  as  no  one  could  be  adjudg¬ 
ed  happy  before  his  end.”  “  If,”  continued  Gandhiji, 
“  Solon  found  it  difficult  to  pronounce  on  a  man’s  happi¬ 
ness  during  his  lifetime,  how  much  more  difficult  it  must 
be  to  adjudge  a  man’s  greatness  ?  True  greatness  is  not 
found  set  upon  a  hill,  for  the  vulgar  crowd  to  gaze  at.  On 
the  contrary,  my  seventy  years’  experience  has  taught  me 
that  the  truly  great  are  often  those  of  whom  and  of  whose 
greatness  the  world  knows  nothing  during  their  lifetime. 
God  alone  is  judge  of  true  greatness,  because  He  alone 
knows  men’s  hearts.” 


136 


THE  SHADOW  OF  PARTING 


137 


Quoting  again  from  the  address  he  continued  his 
vivisection  :  “Not  only  the  inhabitants  of  Abbottabad, 
but  even  the  sun,  the  moon  and  the  stars  here  were  eager 
to  have  a  glimpse  of  me  !  Am  I  to  understand,  my  good 
friends,  that  your  city  has  all  to  itself  a  separate  set  of 
sun,  moon  and  stars  which  do  not  shine  upon  Wardha  or 
Sevagram  ?  In  Kathiawad  we  have  a  class  of  people 
known  as  bhats  or  professional  bards  who  make  it  their  job 
to  sing  the  praises  of  their  chieftains  for  money.  Well,  I 
won’t  call  you  bhats  —  mercenaries  !  ”  (A  voice  from  the 
audience  :  ‘We  had  instead  to  pay  money  along  with  the 
address  !  ’)  But  Gandhiji  was  not  to  be  put  off  so  easily.  He 
continued,  “  Banter  apart,  I  want  you  to  realize  that  it  is 
wrong  to  indulge  in  hyperbolic  praises  of  your  leaders. 
It  neither  helps  them  nor  their  work.  I  would  like  you 
once  for  all  to  forget  this  practice  of  presenting  laudatory 
addresses.  At  three  score  and  ten,  I  for  one,  have  no  de¬ 
sire  to  let  what  little  time  God  has  still  left  me  to  be  frit¬ 
tered  away  in  listening  to  hyperbolic  balderdash.  If  an 
address  must  be  presented  I  would  like  it  to  be  descriptive 
of  the  defects  and  shortcomings  of  the  recipient  of  the 
address  so  that  he  might  be  helped  to  turn  the  searchlight 
inward  and  weed  them  out. 

“  Ever  since  my  arrival  in  this  province  I  have  been 
trying  to  expound  to  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  the  doc¬ 
trine  of  non-violence  in  all  its  uncompromising  complete¬ 
ness,  abating  nothing,  holding  back  nothing.  I  do  not  claim 
to  have  understood  the  meaning  of  non-violence  in  its 
entirety.  What  I  have  realized  is  only  a  small  and  insig¬ 
nificant  fraction  of  the  great  whole.  It  is  not  given  to 
imperfect  man  to  grasp  the  whole  meaning  of  non-vio¬ 
lence  or  to  practise  it  in  full.  That  is  an  attribute  of  God1 
alone,  the  Supreme  Ruler  who  suffers  no  second.  But 
I  have  constantly  and  ceaselessly  striven  for  over  half  a 
century  to  understand  non-violence  and  to  translate  it 
into  my  own  life.  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  have  no" 
doubt  set  a  brilliant  example  in  the  practice  of  non-vio¬ 
lence,  to  the  extent  to  which  they  have  understood  it.  It 
has  earned  for  them  universal  admiration.  But  they  have 


138 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


now  to  move  a  step  further.  Their  conception  of  non¬ 
violence  has  to  be  broadened  and  their  practice  of  it,  espe¬ 
cially  in  its  positive  aspects,  to  be  made  fuller  and  deeper, 
if  they  are  to  come  out  successful  in  the  final  heat.  Non¬ 
violence  is  not  mere  disarmament.  Nor  is  it  the  weapon 
of  the  weak  and  the  impotent.  A  child  who  has  not  the 
strength  to  wield  the  lathi  does  not  practise  non-violence. 
More  powerful  than  armaments,  non-violence  is  a  unique 
force  that  has  come  into  the  world.  He  who  has  not  learnt 
to  recognize  in  it  a  weapon  infinitely  more  potent  than 
brute  force  has  not  understood  its  true  nature.  This  non¬ 
violence  cannot  be  ‘  taught  ’  by  word  of  mouth.  But  it  can 
be  kindled  in  our  heart  through  the  grace  of  God,  in 
answer  to  earnest  prayer.  It  is  stated  that  today  there  are 
■one  lakh  of  Khudai  Khidmatgars  who  have  adopted  non¬ 
violence  as  their  creed.  But  before  them  as  early  as  1920, 
Badshah  Khan  had  come  to  recognize  in  non-violence  a 
weapon,  the  mightiest  in  the  world,  and  his  choice  was 
made.  Eighteen  years  of  practice  of  non-violence  have 
only  strengthened  his  faith  in  it.  He  has  seen  how  it  has 
made  his  people  fearless  and  strong.  The  prospect  of 
losing  a  paltry  job  used  to  unnerve  them.  They  feel 
•different  beings  today.  At  three  score  and  ten,  my  faith 
in  non-violence  today  burns  brighter  than  ever.  People 
say  to  me,  ‘  Your  programme  of  non-violence  has  been 
before  the  country  now  for  nearly  two  decades,  but  where 
is  the  promised  independence  ?  ’  My  reply  is  that  although 
the  creed  of  non-violence  was  professed  by  millions,  it 
was  practised  by  but  a  few  and  that,  too,  as  a  policy  only. 
But  with  all  that  the  result  that  has  been  achieved  is 
sufficiently  striking  to  encourage  me  to  carry  on  the  ex¬ 
periment  with  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars,  and  God  willing, 
it  will  succeed.” 

Gandhiji  left  Abbottabad  to  return  to  Sevagram  on 
the  morning  of  9th  November.  On  his  way,  he  paid  a 
visit  to  the  famous  archaelogical  remains  of  Taxila.  The 
journey  was  done  under  the  shadow  of  impending  parting. 
Hour  weeks  of  the  closest  communion  in  the  common  quest 
of  non-violence  had  brought  Gandhiji  ever  so  much  closer 


THE  SHADOW  OF  PARTING 


139 


to  Badshah  Khan  and  his  Old  Guard  of  Ivhudai  Khidmat- 
gars.  Badshah  Khan  was  busy  settling  in  consultation 
with  Gandhi ji,  final  details  about  his  future  programme 
of  work  and  sighed  that  the  fresh  commitments  into  which 
he  was  about  to  enter  left  little  chance  of  realizing  his 
long-cherished  dream  of  a  Bohemian  ramble  among  the 
enchanting  hills  of  Shawal  and  Swat :  “  Mahatmaji,  this  is 
what  I  have  been  telling  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  since 
your  arrival.  ‘  You  have  made  the  cause  of  the  poor  your 
own.  But  what  have  you  done  to  remove  their  poverty  ? 
You  have  pledged  yourself  never  to  retaliate,  but  have 
you  gone  among  your  opponents  and  tried  to  win  them  by 
your  love  ?  ’  ”  He  narrated  to  Gandhi  ji  a  few  of  his  ex¬ 
periences  which  showed  how  deep  the  spirit  of  non-vio¬ 
lence  had  burnt  itself  into  him.  A  Mussulman  friend 
from  the  Punjab  had  found  himself  in  his  company  during 
a  train  journey.  “  He  was  full  of  denunciation  of  me 
saying  that  I  had  undermined  the  spirit  of  Islam  by 
preaching  non-violence  to  the  Pathans.  I  told  him  that 
he  knew  not  what  he  was  saying  and  that  he  would  never 
have  talked  like  that  if  he  had  seen  with  his  own  eyes,  the 
wonderful  transformation  that  the  message  of  non-vio¬ 
lence  has  worked  in  the  midst  of  the  Pathans,  to  whom  it 
has  given  a  new  vision  of  national  solidarity.  I  cited 
chapter  and  verse  from  the  Quran  to  show  the  great  em¬ 
phasis  that  Islam  has  laid  on  Peace,  which  is  its  coping 
stone.  I  also  showed  to  him  how  the  greatest  figures  in 
Islamic  history  were  known  more  for  their  forbearance 
and  self-restraint  than  for  their  fierceness.  The  reply 
rendered  him  speechless.” 

He  then  described  how  on  another  occasion  he 
was  accused  of  having  a  lashkar  of  one  lakh  of  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  to  help  the  Hindus  to  subdue  the  Mussulman 
population.  “  I  was  advised  by  several  friends  to 
issue  a  contradiction  of  the  gross  libel.  But  I  refused. 
‘  I  have  not  yet  sufficiently  penetrated  the  Frontier 
masses,’  I  told  them.  To  them  what  I  might  *  say 
will  probably  be  on  a  par  with  what  anybody  else  might 
tell  them  till,  as  a  result  of  our  selfless  service,  they  learn 


140 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


to  know  gold  from  tinsel.  I  shall  wait.”  He  mentioned 
to  Gandhi ji  an  incident  of  non-co-operation  days  in  the 
North-West  Frontier  Province  which  reads  like  a  little 
epic  of  non-violence.  At  Charsadda  the  Khudai  Khidmat- 
gars  had  organized  a  public  meeting.  Before  long 
the  military  arrived  on  the  scene  and  ordered  them  to 
disperse,  which  they  refused  to  do.  A  lathi  charge 
was  then  ordered  and  was  followed  by  the  order  to  open 
fire.  But  all  that  had  little  effect.  The  people  refused  to 
budge  and  remained  sitting  unperturbed.  The  military 
were  taken  aback.  They  were  not  prepared  for  such 
calm  determination  on  the  part  of  the  fiery  Pathan.  They 
stopped  firing  after  the  first  few  rounds.  A  big  crowd 
had  formed  round  them.  His  nephew  Saadulla  Khan  was 
there.  “  What  is  it  you  want  ?  ”  the  officer  commanding 
asked  him.  “  Nothing,”  replied  Saadulla,  Dr.  Khan 
Saheb’s  son.  “  Allow  us  to  depart.  Give  us  way,”  fumbled 
out  the  military  officer.  And  they  passed  out  unhurt 
through  the  vast  mass  of  people. 


CHAPTER  XVI 

PESHAWAR  KHADI  EXHIBITION 

In  view  of  the  central  place  which  Gandhiji  assigned 
to  khadi  and  organization  of  cottage  industries  in  the 
scheme  of  non-violence,  he  agreed  to  perform  the  opening 
ceremony  of  a  khadi  exhibition  at  Peshawar,  the  first  of 
its  kind  in  the  North-West  Frontier  Province,  that  was 
organized  by  the  Punjab  Branch  of  the  All-India  Spin¬ 
ners’  Association.  The  exhibition  was  held  with  the  full 
support  and  co-operation  of  the  Frontier  Government. 
Among  those  who  rendered  particular  help  were  the  Min¬ 
ister  in  charge  of  Industries,  and  the  various  officials  con¬ 
nected  with  Health,  Industries,  Agriculture  and  Prison 
Departments.  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  supplied  a  corps 
of  volunteers.  All  the  Ministers  and  a  large  section  of 
the  gentry,  especially  the  ladies,  attended  the  exhibition. 

Premier  Khan  Saheb  and  Dr.  Gopichand  Bhargava, 
the  agent  of  the  Punjab  branch  of  the  All-India  Spinners’ 
Association,  in  their  joint  address  introducing  the  All- 
India  Spinners’  Association,  made  some  striking  remarks 
which  are  worth  pondering  over. 

“  The  All-India  Spinners’  Association  has  over  600 
production  centres  and  sale  bhandars  (depots)  in  different 
parts  of  India  and  Burma.  It  was  serving  6,029  villages 
in  different  parts  of  the  country  in  the  year  1932  ;  in  the 
year  1937  their  number  increased  to  10,280.  In  the  current 
year  (1938-1939)  the  number  of  villages  served  will  be 
somewhere  near  20,000  at  least.  During  the  year  1936 
there  were  1,13,489  registered  spinners  and  weavers 
working  under  the  Association ;  in  the  year  1937  the 
figure  rose  to  1,91,094.  In  the  current  year  the  number 
of  registered  spinners  and  weavers  working  under  the 
Association  will  come  to  nearly  4,00,000.  The  total  pro¬ 
duction  in  the  year  1936  was  23,75,694  yards  while  in  the 
year  1937  it  rose  to  30,15,339.  During  the  half  year  ending 

141 


142 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


June  30th  in  the  current  year  the  production  has  been 
over  24  lakhs  of  rupees  and  the  figure  is  sure  to  go  over 
50  lakhs  of  rupees.  In  the  year  1937  seven  lakhs  of 
rupees  were  distributed  by  way  of  wages  and  this  is  likely 
to  be  at  least  doubled  this  year. 

“  Bombay  and  Ahmedabad  mills  with  a  capital  of 
over  50  crores  of  rupees  are  providing  labour  for  1,75,000 
men  while  the  All-India  Spinners’  Association  with  a 
capital  of  25  lakhs  is  providing  labour  for  over  1,60,000 
men  (excluding  workers  employed  by  certified  centres). 
Further,  while  it  requires  only  Re.  1/-  to  Rs.  3/-  to  buy 
a  spinning  wheel  and  give  employment  to  a  worker,  it 
needs  Rs.  60/-  to  put  up  one  spindle  in  a  mill,  and  one 
man  can  manage  200  spindles.  So  that  a  sum  of 
Rs.  12,000  will  be  necessary  to  give  employment  to  one 
man. 

“  The  following  telling  figures  would  illustrate  the 
strides  that  the  country  has  taken  towards  the  goal  of 
self-sufficiency  under  the  inspiration  provided  by  the 
khadi  movement,  during  the  Civil  Disobedience  move¬ 
ment  : 

“  Production  in  Indian  mills  in  1920-21,  before  the 
Civil  Disobedience  movement,  was  158  crores  of  square 
yards  of  cloth  worth  63  crores  of  rupees.  In  1921-22,  after 
the  inauguration  of  Civil  Disobedience,  it  stood  at  173 
crores  of  square  yards.  The  figure  stood  at  242  crores  of 
square  yards  in  1929-30.  In  1930-31  it  shot  up  to  256 
square  yards.  As  against  this  the  figure  for  cloth  import¬ 
ed  from  foreign  mills  in  1920-21  was  141  crore  square 
yards  worth  80  crores  of  rupees.  In  1921-22  it  dropped 
to  98  crore  yards  worth  40  crores  of  rupees.  In  1929-30, 
it  again  shot  up  to  242  crore  square  yards  but  after  the 
resumption  of  Civil  Disobedience  in  1930-31,  it  again 
dropped  down  to  81  crore  square  yards  and  further  de¬ 
clined  to  69  crore  square  yards  in  1931-32.” 

Still  more  striking  was  Premier  Khan  Saheb’s 
reply  to  those  critics  who  have  tried  to  dub  the  Associa¬ 
tion  as  a  communal  organization :  “  Our  critics  have 
sometimes  remarked  that  the  Charkha  Sangh  is  merely  a 


PESHAWAR  KHADI  EXHIBITION 


143 


Hindu  organization.  The  following  figures  giving  the 
communal  proportion  will  show  that  people  of  all  com- 


munities  without 

distinction 

are  working 

under  the 

Association  : 

Spinners 

Weavers 

Total 

Hindus 

1,07,150 

5,529 

1,12,679* 

Muslims 

50,238 

3,862 

54,100 

Harijans 

15,940 

3,702 

19,842 

Other  communities 

335 

— 

335 

Total 

1,73,663 

13,093 

1,86,956 

“  Within  the  last  13  years  of  its  existence,  although 
only  a  very  meagre  proportion  of  our  people  have  yet 
taken  seriously  to  khadi,  it  has  distributed  over 
Rs.  4,00,00,000  in  wages.  How  wonderful  the  result  must 
be  if  all  or  even  a  good  majority  take  to  it.” 

Referring  next  to  the  neighbouring  non-Congress- 
Government  of  the  Punjab,*  Doctor  Khan  Saheb  con¬ 
cluded  :  “  The  Punjab  Government  which,  by  the  way,  is 
no  Congress  Government,  has  been  forced,  by  the  logic  of 
facts,  to  accept  khadi  as  the  only  specific  for  famine  relief. 
In  Hissar,  it  has  sanctioned  Rs.  25,000  for  organizing 
spinning  centres  and  I  understand  they  are  going  to  in¬ 
crease  the  amount  further. 

“  The  day  is  not  far  when  the  most  sceptical  will  be 
forced  to  admit  that  the  charkha  is  the  only  specific  for 
India’s  economic  ills.”  Dr.  Khan  Saheb  ended  with  a 
passionate  exhortation  to  establish  a  khadi  centre  in 
every  town  and  village  of  the  North-West  Frontier 
Province. 

Gandhi ji  in  his  written  message  in  Hindustani,  which 
was  printed  and  distributed  among  the  visitors,  made 
some  incisive  observations  on  Swadeshi.  “  Do  not  be 
misled  by  names,”  he  warned  his  hearers.  “  A  piece  of 
Japanese  cloth  cannot  become  Swadeshi  merely  by  being 


*  There  was  a  Coalition  Unionist  Ministry  in  the  Punjab  at  that, 
time. 

t 


144 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


labelled  ‘  Swadeshi  Only  an  article  which  is  wholly 
manufactured  in  India  by  the  labour  of  India’s  millions 
living  in  the  villages  and  out  of  raw  materials  grown  in 
India  deserves  the  name  of  Swadeshi. 

“  Khadi  alone,  it  will  be  seen,  fully  satisfies  this  test ; 
all  other  cloth  is  a  travesty  of  Swadeshi.  Just  as  there 
can  be  no  dawn  without  the  sun,  so  there  can  be  no 
genuine  Swadeshi  without  khadi. 

“  Judged  by  this  test,  Peshawar  is  left  far  behind  in 
the  race  for  Swadeshi.  There  is  only  one  Khadi  Bhandar 
here  and  that  too  is  being  run  at  a  loss.  I  hope  that  one 
result  of  this  Exhibition  will  be  to  put  the  Khadi  Bhandar 
on  a  firm  footing  and  to  preclude  the  possibility  of  its 
having  to  close  down.” 

Declaring  the  exhibition  open,  in  his  oral  remarks 
Gandhiji  gave  some  plain  talk  to  the  Frontier  Ministers 
and  Congress  M.  L.  A.’s  for  not  wearing  khadi.  “  Dr. 
Gopichand,”  he  observed,  “  has  thanked  the  Ministers  for 
the  help  that  they  are  giving  to  khadi  work.  But  I  find  that 
neither  all  the  Ministers  nor  all  Congress  M.L.A.’s  here 
use  khadi  as  habitual  wear.  Some  wear  it  only  in  the 
Assembly.  Some  do  not  do  that  even.  This  is  contrary 
to  both  the  spirit  and  the  letter  of  the  Congress  Constitu¬ 
tion.  Even  the  red  shirts  have  yet  to  become  khadi 

shirts . if  they  all  take  to  khadi,  the  one  lakh  of  them 

will  in  less  than  no  time  make  the  whole  province  khadi- 
clad.  This  province  is  rich  in  the  resources  for  the  manu¬ 
facture  of  khadi  but  it  comes  last  in  respect  of  khadi 
work  actually  done. 

“  I  would  like  you  all  to  visit  the  Exhibition  in  a 
spirit  of  enquiry  and  study.  Organization  of  khadi  pro¬ 
duction,  unlike  textile  mill  industry,  does  not  require 
lakhs  of  capital  and  highly  specialized  technical  skill. 
Even  a  layman  can  take  it  up.  I  hope  that  this  first 
Khadi  Exhibition  in  the  Frontier  Province  will  be  follow¬ 
ed  by  many  more  in  the  near  future.” 

The  Exhibition  was  held  in  a  school  building  which 
was  tastefully  decorated  with  arches  and  buntings.  Stalls 
and  boxes  were  improvised  by  ingeniously  putting  to- 


TAXI  LA  —  VISITING  BUDDHIST  MONASTERY  OF  JAULIAN 

“You  have  yet  only  arrived  at  the  portal  of  non-violence . 

How  much  greater  your,  achievement  will  be  when  you 
have  entered  its  holy  edifice  !  ” 


■ 


PESHAWAR  KHADI  EXHIBITION 


145 


gether  tables,  writing  desks,  and  benches.  The  walls  of 
the  khadi  court  were  hung  with  instructive  mottoes  ex¬ 
plaining  the  economics  of  khadi ;  and  statistics  of  prices 
of  different  varieties  of  khadi  and  an  analysis  of  their  cost 
of  production  to  show  that  in  khadi  activity  there  could 
be  no  scope  for  profiteering.  The  latest  patterns  of  khadi 
from  the  finest  Andhra  to  thick  bed  clothing  from  upper 
India  and  all  the  various  lines  from  coating  to  saris, 
chintzes  and  prints  from  all  parts  of  India  were  duly  re¬ 
presented.  Local  manufactures  were  represented  by  a 
fair  variety  of  woollens,  elegant  embroidered  chug  as  (over¬ 
coats  of  indigenous  designs)  and  Swati  blankets  which 
are  amazingly  cheap  for  their  quality,  and  stuffs  from  the 
Kagan  valley  in  the  Hazara  District  and  Chitral,  which 
owing  to  very  soft  fleece  that  is  found  there  showed  the 
immense  possibilities  of  the’  development  of  woollen  in¬ 
dustries  in  these  parts. 

The  last  day  was  set  apart  as  the  ‘  Ladies’  Day  ’ 
when  the  khadi  court  proved  itself  to  be  so  popular  as  to 
take  the  organization  by  storm.  They  came  in  their 
thousands,  a  fair  sprinkling  among  them  with  notebooks 
and  pencils  in  hand  and  showed  keen  interest  in  khadi  by 
taking  down  texts  of  the  more  striking  of  the  khadi 
mottoes.  The  sales  exceeded  all  expectations  and  all  lines 
in  the  ladies’  section  were  exhausted,  more  having  had  to 
be  indented  telegraphically  from  the  Punjab.  In  the 
meantime  the  gentlemen’s  printed  turban  stuff  was  requi¬ 
sitioned  for  feminine  wear  ! 

Next  to  the  khadi  court  in  popularity  was  the  techni¬ 
cal  court  where  all  the  processes  involved  in  the  manufac¬ 
ture  of  khadi  were  demonstrated.  Of  special  interest  was 
a  modified  spindle-holder  which  took  in  a  bare  spindle 
turned  by  a  resin-coated  string.  It  cost  only  five  annas 
and  increased  the  revolutions  of  the  old  style  Punjabi 
charkha  from  50  to  140. 

Paper  manufacture  and  different  varieties  of  palm 
and  cane  gur  were  shown  in  still  another  section.  The 
Government  departments  of  Health,  Agriculture  and 
Industries  also  had  brought  their  exhibits.  A  comparative 


P-10 


146 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


study  Of  a  clean  and  well-planned  village  and  an  ill-plan¬ 
ned  unclean  one  was  provided  in  clay  models.  There  were 
also  clay  models  of  a  village  house,  an  orchard  and  culti¬ 
vated  fields. 

Entrance  to  the  exhibition  was  free.  This  as 
Gandhiji  pointed  out  to  the  organizers  was  a  mistake,  as 
payment  of  even  a  nominal  fee  is  found  to  go  a  long  way 
towards  ensuring  a  measure  of  genuine  interest.  The  rush 
on  the  first  day  was  so  great  that  admission  had  to  be 
closed  to  all  except  women.  Even  so  there  was  a  lot  of 
gate-crashing  and  window  smashing.  The  khadi  sale  for 
the  six  days  amounted  to  over  Rs.  4,400/-  which  was  re¬ 
markable,  considering  that  the  average  -annual  sale  of 
khadi  over  the  last  decade  in  the  local  Khadi  Bhandar  had 
never  gone  beyond  Rs.  6,000/-. 

The  expenses  of  the  Exhibition,  leaving  aside  the 
essential  expenses,  i.  e.  on  railway  fare,  freight,  octroi,  etc., 
amounted  to  only  Rs.  220/-.  Out  of  this  should  be  deduct¬ 
ed  the  expenses  on  decorations,  mottoes  and  charts  as 
these  were  permanent  assets  whose  use  would  not  cease 
with  the  Exhibition. 


CHAPTER  XVII 

TAXILA  —  I 
THE  PAST  SPEAKS 

“  Where  there  is  no  knowledge  of  the  past, 

There  is  no  vision  of  the  future.” 

—  Rafael  Sabitini 

The  past  is  always  before  us.  Again  and  again,  in  the 
endless  spiral  of  human  progress,  we  look  down  from 
different  heights  upon  the  same  familiar  milestones. 

“  Trembling  at  that  at  which  we  stood  before  ” 

Those  below  provide  the  key  to  those  that  lie  ahead. 
The  substance  is  the  same,  the  context  is  different.  It  only 
needs  humility  and  receptivity  of  mind  to  unlock  the 
secret.  To  stand,  for  instance,  on  top  of  Mount  Pisagh,  like 
Fielding  King  Hall,  a  thousand  feet  above  the  north¬ 
ern  entrance  to  the  Khyber,  and  look  across  eighty  miles 
into  Afghanistan  up  the  Kabul  river  valley,  is  to  hear  the 
foot-falls  of  two  thousand  years.  And  what  a  tale  of 
human  tragedy,  glamour  and  wild  romance  they  unfold  ! 

Gandhi ji  rounded  off  his  tour  of  the  Frontier  Province 
by  a  visit  to  the  ruins  of  Taxila  before  entraining  at  the 
railway  station  of  that  name  for  Wardha —  and  most  ap¬ 
propriately,  too.  Indeed,  the  tour  of  the  Frontier  Province 
would  have  been  incomplete  without  it.  If  four  weeks  of 
the  closest  communion  with  Padshah  Khan  and  his  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  were  needed  to  bring  home  the  fact  that  the 
non-violence  movement  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  is 
not  a  mere  excrescence  of  a  temporary  and  passing  phase, 
but  is  an  organic  development  answering  an  inner  neces¬ 
sity  of  their  social  existence,  it  needed  a  visit  to  Taxila 
to  dispel  another  notion  which  is  all  but  universal  about 
the  Pathans.  It  has  been  remarked  by  sceptics  that  non¬ 
violence  is  at  best  an  exotic  growth  in  the  North-West 
Frontier  Province  with  but  little  chance  of  flourishing 

147 


148 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


in  that  inhospitable  soil.  It  is  little  realized  that  for  over 
one  thousand  years,  the  flower  of  Buddhism  flourished  in 
these  parts  in  all  its  pristine  glory.  The  whole  of  the 
Swat  and  the  Kabul  river  valleys  and  the  region  be}Tond 
and  across  Afghanistan  right  to  Khotan,  is  strewn  thick 
with  the  remains  of  stupas,  monasteries  and  pillars,  and 
Buddhist  relics  that  tell  their  own  tale.  It  was  by  way 
of  Taxila  and  Gandahar  that  Northern  Buddhism  spread  to 
China..  And  when  the  present-day  Khudai  Khidmatgar 
signs  the  pledge  of  non-violence  in  thought,  word  and 
deed,  he  is  only  following  in  the  footsteps  of  his  forbears 
who  meditated  over  the  meaning  of 

(Let  a  man  conquer  anger  with  non-anger)  in  the  cloister¬ 
ed  peace  of  the  ancient  university  town  of  Takshashila  in 
the  company  of  the  Chinese  pilgrim  students  who  flocked 
there  across  the  Gobi  desert. 

Thanks  to  the  labours  of  Sir  John  Marshall  and  the 
amateur  archaelogists  like  Crancroft,  Delmerick  and  Cun¬ 
ningham  before  him,  we  can  take  a  leap  across  the  cen¬ 
turies  and  with  a  little  imagination  resurrect  to  ourselves 
in  all  its  vivid  and  colourful  detail  this  most  fascinating 
page  in  the  history  of  the  Frontier  Province.  Twenty  miles 
north-west  of  Rawalpindi  and  immediately  to  the  east 
and  north-east  of  the  railway  junction  of  Taxila  are 
the  three  distinct  cities,  the  remains  of  ancient  Taksha¬ 
shila  as  it  was  rebuilt  and  shifted  from  place  to  place  in 
the  course  of  time.  There  is  a  mention  of  Takshashila 
in  the  Mahabharata  in  connection  with  the  serpent  sacri¬ 
fice  of  Janamejaya.  Arrian  has  referred  to  it  as  a  great 
and  flourishing  university  town  —  “  the  greatest  indeed 
of  all  the  cities  which  lay  between  the  Indus  and  the 
Hydaspes  (Jhelum)  and  famous  at  that  time,  and  during 
the  centuries  immediately  following,  for  its  arts  and 
sciences  of  the  day.” 

In  addition  to  these  three  city  sites  there  are  a  num¬ 
ber  of  detached  monuments,  mainly  Buddhist  stupas  and 
monasteries,  scattered  over  the  face  of  the  country.  Of 
these  Gandhiji  visited  the  remains  of  the  Buddhist  monas¬ 
tery  at  Jaulian.  Perched  on  the  top  of  a  hill  300  feet 


THE  PAST  SPEAKS 


149 


high,  this  monastery  at  one  time  provided  an  ideal  retreat 
to  the  members  of  the  Buddhist  Sangha  and  student  pil¬ 
grims  who  had  pledged  themselves  “  to  shun  delights  and 
live  laborious  days  Its  dominating  position  on  the  hill 
commanding  a  panorama,  its  calm  seclusion,  and  its  “  cool 
and  dustless  ”  air  must  have  appealed  immensely  to  the 
aesthetic  sense  of  these  people  who  regarded  free  com¬ 
munion  with  nature  in  its  unsoiled  and  unspoiled  fresh¬ 
ness  as  an  essential  aid  to  meditation.  The  monument  con¬ 
sists  of  a  monastery  with  two  stupa  courts  on  different 
levels.  The  stupa  courts  are  open  quadrangles  with  small 
alcoves  and  recesses  running  along  the  sides,  and  were 
intended  to  serve  as  shrines  for  cult  images.  In  the  monas¬ 
tery  again  the  open  quadrangle  is  surrounded  by  ranges 
of  small  cells  for  meditation  and  study.  One  sees  here 
the  kitchen  where  these  people  cooked  their  food,  the 
refectory,  bathroom,  the  wells  at  the  bottom  of  the  hill 
from  where  they  fetched  water,  and  the  path  by  which 
they  went  to  the  contiguous  town  of  Sirkush  to 
obtain  alms.  In  the  cells  may  be  seen  the  earthen  pots 
and  cups  for  drinking  water  left  just  as  they  were  used 
by  the  inmates  two  thousand  years  ago.  Some  of  the 
finest  and  best  preserved  specimens  of  Gandahar  art  are 
to  be  found  in  this  monastery. 

A  short  distance  from  it  are  the  excavated  remains 
of  Sirkap,  the  second  of  the  three  successive  city  sites, 
where  Takshashila  stood  in  the  early  years  of  the  second 
century  B.  C.  It  is  surrounded  by  a  stone  wall  6,000  yards 
in  circumference  and  from  15  to  20  feet  thick.  Up  hill 
and  down  dale  it  straggles,  enclosing  within  its  perimeter 
three  rocky  and  precipitous  ridges  of  the  Hathial  spur, 
besides  an  isolated  flat-topped  hill.  The  city,  according 
to  Greek  accounts,  was  as  big  as  Nineveh  and  contained 
a  temple  of  the  Sun  and  a  royal  palace.  It  is  laid  out 
on  a  symmetrical  plan.  The  streets  are  narrow  and  irre¬ 
gular  after  the  style  of  Greek  cities  of  those  days.  And 
the  houses,  we  are  told,  had  the  appearance  of  being  one¬ 
storied,  but  had  in  reality  basement  rooms  underground. 
In  400  A.  D.  Fa  Hien  found  the  town,  as  well  as  the  great 


150 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Buddhist  sanctuaries  around,  still  relatively  vigorous  and 
flourishing.  The  Buddhistic  arts  and  culture  reached  their 
zenith  in  the  period  of  the  Mauryan  Empire  and  fell  be¬ 
fore  the  ruthless  and  wanton  destruction  of  white  Huns 
after  455  A.  D. 

Viewing  these  remains  after  a  tour  of  the  relics  in 
the  museum  that  have  been  recovered  from  these  excava¬ 
tions,  one  could  easily  picture  to  oneself  in  all  its  varie¬ 
gated  detail  the  life  that  the  people  who  once  thronged 
those  resounding  streets  and  habited  these  dwellings  lived 
—  the  clothes  they  wore,  the  brass  and  bell  metal  utensils 
they  ate  from  or  used  for  cooking.  The  grinding  stones, 
pounding  slabs  and  big  earthen  storage  jars  from  3  to  4 
feet  high,  which  were  found  intact  and  in  position,  were 
so  exactly  like  their  counterparts  in  use  in  Indian  villages 
today  that,  if  surreptitiously  interchanged,  they  would 
defy  detection.  In  the  museum  one  found  clay  carts  and 
toy  soldiers  and  monks  still  warm,  as  it  were,  from  the 
caresses  of  tiny  innocent .  hands  that  played  with  them 
2,000  years  ago,  the  counterparts  of  which  any  village 
child  of  today  could  produce  from  his  home.  Similarly, 
the  vessels  and  the  rest  of  the  paraphernalia  that  were 
employed  in  the  performance  of  domestic  ceremonies 
seemed  so  familiar  as  to  make  one  feel  that  if  by  a  trick 
of  H.  G.  Wells’  time  machine,  one  could  be  transported 
back  into  that  age  and  step  into  one  of  those  homes  while 
those  ceremonies  were  on,  one  could  take  part  in  them 
without  any  feeling  of  strangeness.  Even  their  little 
vanities  have  been  handed  down  to  us  in  the  form  of 
combs,  mirrors,  razors  and  such  other  articles  of  toilet, 
tiny  round  vermilion  boxes  and  collyrium  sticks  and  gold 
and  silver  jewellery.  “  Just  like  what  my  mother  used  to 
wear,”  exclaimed  Gandhiji,  with  an  affectionate  sigh,  as 
a  pair  of  heavy  silver  anklets  was  shown  to  him  by  the 
curator  ! 

What  were  these  people’s  thoughts,  the  beliefs 
that  they  held,  the  customs  and  institutions  which 
regulated  their  society  ?  Strabo,  Arrian  and  other 
Greek  savants,  who  accompanied  Alexander  in  his  march 


THE  PAST  SPEAKS 


151 


or  followed  in  his  wake,  have  left  a  contemporaneous 
account  of  the  laws  and  customs  and  institutions  into 
which  the  Buddhistic  doctrine  of  non-violence  blossomed 
forth  here.  Individual  freedom  occupied  the  central  place 
in  this  social  order.  “  Of  several  remarkable  customs 
existing  among  the  Indians,”  records  Arrian,  “  there  is 
one  prescribed  by  the  ancient  philosophers  which  one  may 
regard  as  truly  admirable.  For,  the  law  ordains  that  no 
one  among  them  shall,  under  any  circumstances,  be  a 
slave,  but  that,  enjoying  freedom  themselves,  they  shall 
respect  the  equal  right  to  it  which  all  possess.  For  those, 
they  thought,  who  have  learned  neither  to  dominate  over 
nor  cringe  to  others  will  attain  the  life  best  adapted  for 
all  vicissitudes  of  lot,  for  it  is  but  fair  and  reasonable  to 
institute  laws  which  bind  all  equally,  while  allowing  pro¬ 
perty  to  be  unequally  distributed.” 

Special  care  was  taken  of  foreigners  and  strangers, 
and  their  security  was  equally  guaranteed  with  those  of 
native  citizens.  Officers  were  appointed  whose  duty  it 
was  to  see  that  no  foreigner  was  wronged  :  “  Should  any 
of  them  lose  health,  they  send  physicians  to  attend  him 
and  take  care  of  him  otherwise,  and  if  he  dies  they  bury 
hum,  and  deliver  over  such  property  as  he  leaves  to  his 
relatives.  The  judges  also  decide  cases  in  which  foreign¬ 
ers  are  concerned  with  the  greatest  care  and  come  down 
sharply  on  those  who  take  unfair  advantage  of  them  !  ” 

Usury  was  unknown  and  complicated  litigation  not 
provided  for  by  the  laws.  “  The  Indians,”  runs  one  of 
the  classical  texts  unearthed  by  McCrindle,  “  neither  put 
out  money  at  usury,  nor  know  how  to  borrow.  It  is  con¬ 
trary  to  established  usage  for  an  Indian  either  to  do  or 
suffer  a  wrong,  and  therefore  they  neither  make  contracts 
nor  require  securities.” 

And  thus  another  fragment :  “  Among  the  Indians, 
one  who  is  unable  to  recover  a  loan  or  a  deposit  has  no 
remedy  at  law.  All  the  creditor  can  do  is  to  blame  himself 
for  trusting  a  rogue  !  ” 

The  practice  of  medicine  was  fairly  common.  But 
serious  illness,  particularly  of  a  contagious  nature,  was 


152 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


regarded  as  an  uncleanness  and  corruption  of  the  flesh 
to  be  terminated  by  self-immolation.  Kalanos,  the  Indian 
sage,  who  fell  from  grace  and  accompanied  Alexander  on 
his  march  back  from  India,  having  got  acute  dysentery- 
burnt  himself  to  death  by  mounting  on  a  funeral  pyre  in 
spite  of  the  Macedonian’s  personal  entreaties.  “  Cures,”' 
we  are  further  told,  “  were  effected  rather  by  regulating 
diet  than  by  the  use  of  medicines.  The  remedies  most 
esteemed  were  ointments  and  plasters.  All  others  were 
considered  to  be  in  a  great  measure  pernicious.” 

While  fighting  was  not  altogether  abolished,  it  was 
restricted  rigorously  to  the  warrior  caste.  The  cultivator 
class,  which  was  “  far  more  numerous  than  the  others  ”, 
was  exempted  from  fighting  and  other  public  service  : 
“  Nor  would  an  enemy  coming  upon  a  husbandman  at  his 
work  on  his  land,  do  him  any  harm,  for  men  of  this  class 
being  regarded  as  public  benefactors,  are  protected  from 
all  injury.  The  land  thus  remaining  unravaged  and  pro¬ 
ducing  heavy  crops,  supplies  the  inhabitants  with  all  the 
requisites  to  make  life  enjoyable.” 

What  a  remarkable  echo  this  of  the  following  by 
Raverty  about  the  present-day  Frontier  Pathans  :  “  When 
fighting  amongst  each  other  the  Pathans  of  these  parts 
never  interfere  with  or  injure  the  helots  of  each  other, 
nor  do  they  injure  their  women  or  children,  or  their  guests 
or  strangers  within  the  gates,  and  such  might  serve  as  an 
example  to  nations  laying  claim  to  a  higher  state  of  civili¬ 
zation.” 

Far  away  in  Pataliputra,  Kautilya  the  economist, 
migrating  from  his  birthplace  of  Taxila,  organized  an  eco¬ 
nomic  system  that  was  based  upon  the  principle  of  “  unto* 
this  last  ”.  Hear  the  following  from  his  Arthashastra  : 
“  Those  women  who  do  not  stir  out  of  their  houses,  those 
whose  husbands  are  gone  abroad  and  those  who  are  crip¬ 
ple,  or  girls  may,  when  obliged  to  work  for  their  subsist¬ 
ence.  be  provided  with  work  (spinning  out  threads)  in  due- 
courtesy  through  the  medium  of  maid  servants  of  a  wea¬ 
ving  establishment.  Those  women  who  can  present  them¬ 
selves  at  the  weaving  house  shall  at  dawn  be  enabled  to> 


THE  PAST  SPEAKS 


153 


exchange  their  spinning  for  wages.  Only  so  much  light 
as  be  enough  to  examine  the  threads  shall  be  kept.  If 
the  superintendent  looks  at  the  laces  of  such  women  or 
talks  about  any  other  work,  he  shall  be  punished  with 
the  first  amercement.  Delay  in  paying  the  wages  shall  be 
punished  with  uttermost  amercement ;  likewise  when 
wages  are  paid  for  work  that  is  not  completed.” 

About  half  a  century  later  Taxila  came  under  the 
operation  of  Asoka’s  edicts,  some  of  which  can  be  seen 
today  at  Shahbazgarh.  Here  are  a  few  gleanings  from 
them  which  might  well  serve  as  leading  texts  for  the 
nations  of  the  earth  today  :  “  The  practice  of  virtue  is 
difficult,  but  those  who  practise  virtue  perform  what  is- 

difficult . To  do  evil  is  easy . Thirteen  years- 

after  my  anointment  I  have  created  ministers  of  religion 
They  mix  with  Warriors  and  with  Brahmins r 
with  the  rich  and  the  poor  and  the  aged,  the  Yavanas,. 
the  Gandharvas  and  with  other  frontier  nations. 

They  bring  comfort  to  him  who  is  in  fetters,  remove  his 
obstacles  and  deliver  him,  because  he  has  a  family  to  sup¬ 
port,  because  he  has  been  the  victim  of  deceit,  and  be¬ 
cause  he  is  bent  with  age.” 

The  following  is  about  the  administration  of  public 
justice  :  “  This  is  what  I  have  done.  At  all  moments, 
during  meals,  during  repose,  in  the  inner  apartments,  in 
the  secret  chamber,  in  my  retreat  in  the  garden,  every¬ 
where,  officers  entrusted  with  information  about  the- 
affairs  of  my  people  come  to  me,  and  I  despatch  the  con¬ 
cerns  relating  to  my  people.  Thus  I  have  directed  that 
wherever  there  is  a  division,  a  quarrel,  in  the  assembly 
of  the  clergy,  it  should  always  be  reported  to  me,  for  there 
cannot  be  too  much  activity  employed  in  the  administra¬ 
tion  of  justice . In  incessant  activity  and  the  pro¬ 

per  administration  of  justice  lies  the  root  of  public- 

good . All  my  endeavours  have  but  this  one  object 

—  to  pay  this  debt  due  to  my  people.” 

Here  is  a  present  of  a  Frontier  policy  to  those  whom 
it  may  concern.  Never  was  it  needed  more  badly  than  to¬ 
day  :  “  It  is  with  this  object  that  his  religious  inscriptions 


154 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


has  been  engraved  in  order  that  our  sons  and  grandsons 

may  not  think . that  conquest  by  the  sword  deserves 

the  name  of  conquest,  that  they  may  see  in  it  nothing  but 
destruction  and  violence, . that  the  unsubdued  bor¬ 

ders  should  not  be  afraid  of  me,  that  they  should  trust 
me,  and  should  receive  from  me  happiness,  not  sorrow.” 

And  the  grandest  of  all  is  the  following  about  religious 
toleration  :  “  It  is  true  the  prevalence  of  essential  virtues 
differs  in  different  sects.  But  there  is  a  common  basis 
and  that  is  gentleness  and  moderation  in  language.  Thus 
one  should  not  exalt  one’s  own  sect  and  decry  the  others. 
One  should  not  deprecate  them  without  cause,  but  should 
render  them  on  every  occasion  the  honour  that  they  de¬ 
serve.  Striving  thus,  one  promotes  the  welfare  of  one’s 
own  sect  while  serving  others.  Striving  otherwise  one 
does  not  serve  his  own  sect  and  does  disservice  to  others. 
And  wiioever,  from  attachment  to  his  own  sect  and  with 
a  view  to  promote  it,  exalts  it  and  decries  others,  only 
deals  rude  blows  to  his  own  sect.  Hence  concord  alone 
is  meritorious,  so  that  all  bear  and  love  to  bear  the  belief 
of  each  others.” 

Finally  let  me  give  the  following  text  on  authori¬ 
tarianism  in  propagating  religion  :  “  The  progress  of  reli¬ 
gion  among  men  is  secured  in  two  ways  :  by  positive  rules 
and  by  religious  sentiments  which  one  can  inspire  in  them. 
Of  these  two  methods,  that  of  positive  rules  is  of  poor 
value  ;  it  is  the  inspiration  in  the  heart  that  best  prevails. 
Positive  rules  consist  in  what  I  order  —  when,  for  in¬ 
stance,  I  prohibit  the  slaughter  of  certain  animals  or  lay 
down  other  religious  rules  as  I  have  done  to  a  large  num¬ 
ber.  But  it  is  wholly  by  a  change  in  the  sentiments  of  the 
heart,  that  religion'  makes  a  real  advance  in  inspiring  a 
respect  for  life.  It  is  with  this  view  that  I  have  promul¬ 
gated  this  inscription,  in  order  that  it  may  endure  for  my 

sons  and  my  grandsons . For,  by  following  this  path 

one  secures  happiness  here  below,  and  in  the  other  world. 
Wherever  this  Edict  exists,  on  pillars  of  stone,  let  it 
endure  unto  remote  ages.” 

To  which  one  can  only  say  ‘  Amen  \ 


CHAPTER  XVIII 

TAXILA  —  II 

WHEN  THE  WORLD  CONQUEROR  MET  HIS  MATCH 

Reluctantly  Gandhi ji  took  leave  of  the  pageant  of 
India’s  glorious  past  that  lay  spread  out  before  him.  Re¬ 
flections  crowded  upon  the  mind  thick  and  fast  as 
the  train  hurried  the  party  away  from  the  scene. 
Twenty  centuries  have  rolled  by  ;  the  wheel  has  come  full 
circle  and  humanity  is  once  again  faced  with  the  question 
of  questions  which,  like  the  riddle  of  the  Sphinx,  it  must 
answer  to  itself  or  perish.  Is  there  a  power  that  can  be 
matched  against  the  power  of  armaments  ?  What  must 
prevail  in  the  end  —  temporal  might  or  the  spirit  of  man  ? 
It  would  be  interesting  to  recall  the  answer  to  this  poser 
that  was  furnished  by  Indian  sannyasis  three  hundred 
wears  before  the  Christian  era. 

The  story  of  the  Greek  invasion  of  India  under  Alex¬ 
ander  the  Great  provides  many  an  interesting  footnote  to 
Indian  history.  But  nothing  is  perhaps  of  more  absorbing 
interest  today,  owing  to  its  symbolical  value,  than  the 
story  of  the  encounter  between  the  Macedonian  and  the 
Indian  sages  in  the  valley  of  Taxila  that  has  been  faith¬ 
fully  and  minutely  recorded  by  various  Greek  historians. 

The  fighting  gave  occasion  for  much  heroism  on  both 
sides,  of  which  there  was  frank  and  mutual  recognition. 
King  Paurava  (called  by  the  Greek  Porus),  worsted  in 
fight,  more  than  regained  what  he  had  lost  on  the  battle¬ 
field  by  his  cool  courage  and  fortitude  in  defeat.  Being 
asked  as  to  how  he  thought  the  victor  should  trdat  him, 
he  replied,  “With  the  lesson  which  this  day  teaches,  a 
day  on  which  you  have  witnessed  how  readily  prosperity 
can  be  blasted.”  This  spirited  reply  was  appreciated  by 
Alexander  more,  observes  the  historian,  than  an  entreaty 
would  have  been. 


155 


156 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Militarily  it  went  well  with  the  Greeks,  and  every¬ 
thing  fell  before  the  prowess  of  Alexander’s  arms.  But 
the  World  Conqueror  felt  that  he  had  met  more  than  his 
match  when  he  was  confronted  by  men  who  baffled  him. 
by  their  dialectical  skill  and  still  another  who,  though 
unarmed,  had  rendered  himself  invulnerable,  by  virtue  of 
his  spiritual  power  against  which  no  earthly  weapon  could 
prevail. 

Near  Peshawar,  records  the  historian,  Alexander  cap¬ 
tured  ten  sannyasis  who  were  principally  concerned  in 
persuading  King  Sambhas  to  revolt  and  by  infusing  among 
the  people  an  unconquerable  spirit  of  resistance  “  had 
done  much  harm  otherwise  to  Macedonians  ”.  He  pro¬ 
posed  for  their  solution  some  knotty  conundrums  with  the 
condition  that  “  he  would  put  to  death  first  the  one  whose 
answer  was  the  poorest  and  then  the  others  in  order.” 

He  demanded  of  the  first  which  he  took  to  be 
most  numerous  —  the  living  or  the  dead.  The  answer  was, 
“  The  living,  for  the  dead  are  not.” 

The  second  was  asked  which  bred  the  largest  animals 

—  the  sea  or  the  land.  He  answered,  “  The  land,  for  the 
sea  is  only  a  part  of  it.” 

The  third  was  asked  which  was  the  cleverest  of 
beasts.  He  answered,  “  That  with  which  man  is  not  ac¬ 
quainted.” 

The  fourth  was  asked  for  what  reason  he  induced 
Sambhas  to  revolt.  He  replied,  “  Because  I  wished  him 
to  live  with  honour  and  die  with  honour.” 

The  fifth  was  asked  which  he  thought  existed  first. 

—  the  day  or  the  night.  He  answered,  “  The  day  was 
first  by  one  day.”  As  the  King  appeared  surprised  at  this 
solution,  he  added,  “  Impossible  questions  require  impossi¬ 
ble  answers.” 

Alexander,  then  turning  to  the  sixth,  asked  him  how 
a  man  could  best  make  himself  beloved.  He  replied,  “  If 
a  man  being  possessed  of  great  power  did  not  make  him¬ 
self  feared.” 


WHEN  THE  WORLD  CONQUEROR  MET  HIS  MATCH  157 

Of  the  remaining  three,  one  being  asked  how  a  man 
could  become  a  god,  replied,  “  By  doing  that  which  is  im¬ 
possible  for  a  man  to  do.” 

The  next  being  asked  which  of  the  two  was  stronger 
—  life  or  death,  replied,  “Life,  because  it  bears  so  many 
evils.” 

The  last  being  asked  how  long  it  was  honourable  for 
a  man  to  live,  answered,  “  As  long  as  he  does  not  think  it 
better  to  die  than  to  live.” 

Upon  this  Alexander,  turning  to  the  judge,  requested 
hum  to  give  his  decision.  The  judge  said  they  had  answer¬ 
ed  “  each  one  worse  than  the  other.” 

“  Since  such  is  your  judgment,”  retorted  Alexander, 
■“  you  shall  be  yourself  first  to  be  put  to  death.” 

“  Not  so,”  said  he,  “  0  King,  unless  you  are  false  to 
your  word,  for  you  said  that  he  who  gave  the  worst 
answer  should  be  the  first  to  die.” 

On  arriving  at  Taxila,  it  is  recorded,  the  Macedonian 
conceived  a  great  desire  that  one  of  the  sages  should  live 
with  him,  because  he  admired  their  patience  and  stoical 
fortitude  in  enduring  hardships.  Onesikritos,  who  was  a 
philosopher  of  the  school  of  Diogenes,  was  thereupon  sent 
with  a  message  from  the  King  to  Dandamis,  the  president 
and  teacher  of  the  order  of  sannyasis  in  that  locality,  to 
■fetch  him. 

There  is  hardly  a  more  arresting  figure  in  early  Indian 
history  than  this  Indian  sage  who  seems  to  combine  in 
his  person  the  passion  of  a  Savanarola  with  the  directness 
of  Telemachus  and  a  ripeness  of  wisdom  and  spiritual 
power  which  outdistance  them  both.  Through  ceaseless 
practice  he  had  attained  a  complete  self-mastery  and  de¬ 
tachment  of  spirit  which  made  the  pomp  and  panoply  of 
emperors  look  pale  in  his  presence  and  reminded  one  of 
the  ancient  XJpanishadic  text,  ar^  1 

(The  wise  one  who  has  realized  the  joy  of  Brahma 
knows  naught  of  fear) .  The  imperial  messenger  found  the 
great  sage  stretched  on  a  bed  of  leaves  in  a  forest  and 
held  a  discourse  with  him. 


158 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


The  trend  of  the  sage’s  discourse  was  that  the  best 
philosophy  was  that  which  liberated  the  mind  from  plea¬ 
sure  and  grief,  that  grief  differed  from  labour,  in  that  the 
former  was  pernicious,  the  latter  friendly  to  man.  There¬ 
upon  Onesikritos  commented  that  Pythagoras  taught  a 
like  doctrine  and  instructed  his  disciples  to  abstain  from 
whatever  had  life  ;  that  Socrates  and  Diogenes,  whose 
discourses  he  heard,  held  the  same  views.  Dandamis 
replied  that  in  other  respects  he  thought  them  to  be  wise, 
but  that  they  wqre  mistaken  “  in  preferring  custom  to 
nature,”  else  they  would  not  be  ashamed  to  live  on  frugal 
fare  and  in  uttermost  simplicity.  “  For,  that  house  is  the 
best  which  requires  least  repairs.”  Introducing  next  the 
object  of  his  visit  Onesikritos  began,  “  Hail  to  thee,  thou 
teacher  of  Brahmins.  The  son  of  the  mighty  God  Zeus, 
being  Alexander  who  is  the  sovereign  Lord  of  all  men, 
asks  you  to  go  to  him,  and  if  you  comply,  he  will  reward 
you  with  great  gifts,  but  if  you  refuse  he  will  cut  off  your 
head.” 

The  sage  with  a  complaisant  smile  heard  him  to  the 
end,  “  but  did  not  so  much  as  lift  up  his  head  from  his 
couch  of  leaves,”  and  whilst  still  retaining  his  recumbent 
attitude  replied  that  he  was  also  a  son  of  Zeus  if  Alexander 
was  such,  that  he  wanted  nothing  that  was  Alexander’s, 
for  he  was  content  with  what  he  had,  whilst  he  saw  that 
the  men  with  Alexander  wandered  over  sea  and  land  for 
no  advantage  and  were  never  coming  to  the  end  of  their 
wanderings  :  “  Go  and  tell  Alexander,”  he  scornfully  add¬ 
ed,  “  that  God  the  supreme  King  is  never  the  author  of 
insolent  wrong,  but  is  the  creator  of  light,  of  peace,  of  life, 
of  water,  of  the  body  of  man  and  of  soul,  and  these  he 
receives  when  death  sets  them  free,  being  in  no  way  sub¬ 
ject  to  evil  disease.  He  alone  is  the  God  of  my  homage, 
who  abhors  slaughter  and  instigates  no  wars.  But  Alex¬ 
ander  is  no  God,  since  he  must  taste  of  death.  How  can 
such  as  he  be  the  world’s  master,  when  he  has  not  yet 
seated  himself  on  a  throne  of  universal  dominion  ?  ” 

Moreover,  had  Alexander  solved  the  riddle  of  death 
and  life  hereafter  ?  “  He  has  neither  as  yet  entered  living 


WHEN  THE  WORLD  CONQUEROR  MET  HIS  MATCH  15Q 

into  Hades,  nor  does  he  know  the  course  of  the  sun. 
through  the  central  regions  of  the  earth,  while  the  nations 
on  its  boundaries  have  not  so  much  as  heard  his  name." 
“  If  his  present  dominions  are  not  capacious  enough  for 
his  desires,”  reprimanded  the  sage,  “  let  him  cross  the 
Ganges  river,  and  there  he  will  find  a  region  able  to  sus¬ 
tain  all  his  men,  if  the  country  on  this  side  is  too  narrow 
to  hold  him. 

“  Know  this,  however,  that  what  Alexander  offers  me 
and  the  gifts  he  promises  are  things  to  me  utterly  useless  ; 
but  the  things  which  I  prize  and  find  of  real  use  and  worth 
are  these  leaves  which  are  my  house,  these  blooming 
plants  which  supply  me  with  daily  food,  and  the  water 
which  is  my  drink  ;  while  all  other  possessions  and  things 
which  are  amassed  with  anxious  care  are  wont  to  prove 
ruinous  to  those  who  amass  them,  and  cause  only  sorrow 
and  vexation,  with  which  every  poor  mortal  is  fully 
fraught.  But  as  for  me  I  lie  upon  the  forest  leaves,  and 
having  .nothing  which  requires  guarding,  close  my  eyes  in 
tranquil  slumber  ;  whereas  had  I  got  anything  to  guard, 
that  would  banish  sleep.  The  earth  supplies  me  with 
everything  even  as  a  mother  her  child  with  milk.  I  go 
wherever  I  please-,  and  there  are  no  cares  with  which  I 
am  forced  to  cumber  myself  against  my  wish. 

“  Should  Alexander  cut  off  my  head,  he  cannot  also 
destroy  my  soul.  My  head  alone  now  silent  will  remain, 
leaving  the  body  like  a  torn  garment  upon  the  earth, 
whence  also  it  was  taken.  I  then,  becoming  spirit,  shall 
ascend  to  my  God,  who  enclosed  me  in  flesh  and  left  us 
upon  earth  to  prove  whether,  when  here  below,  we  shall 
live  obedient  to  His  ordinances  and  who  also  will  require 
of  us,  when  we  depart  hence  to  His  presence,  an  account 
of  our  life,  since  He  is  judge  of  all  proud  wrong-doing  ; 
for  the  groans  of  the  oppressed  become  the  punishment  of 
the  oppressor. 

“  Let  Alexander  then  terrify  with  these  threats  those 
who  wish  for  gold  and  for  wealth  and  who  dread  death, 
for  against  us  these  weapons  are  both  alike  powerless,, 
since  the  Brahmins  neither  love  gold  nor  fear  death. 


160 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


“  Go  then  and  tell  Alexander  this  :  Dandamis  has  no 
need  of  aught  that  is  yours,  and  therefore  will  not  go  to 
you,  and  if  you  want  anything  from  Dandamis  come  you 
to  him.” 

Alexander  on  receiving  from  Onesikritos  report  of  the 
interview  “  felt  a  stronger  desire  than  ever  to  see  Danda¬ 
mis,  who  though  old  and  naked  was  the  only  antagonist 
in  whom  he,  the  conquerer  of  many  nations,  had  met 
more  than  his  match.” 


« 


AT  BHANGI  NIWAS,  NEW  DELHI 
DURING  BRITISH  CABINET  MISSION’S  VISIT  (1945-46) 
“  A  kindred  spirit,  a  man  of  faith  and  prayer.” 


CHAPTER  XIX 


EPILOGUE 

I 

The  Gathering  Clouds 

The  march  of  events  has  rendered  it  necessary  to 
add  an  epilogue  to  the  foregoing,  to  follow  it  up  to  its 
poignant  and  strange  sequel.  In  pursuance  of  the  plan 
which  he  had  hammered  out  in  consultation  with  Gan- 
•dhiji,  Badshah  Khan  set  up  a  centre  at  Sardaryab  for  the 
training  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars.  At  his  request  Gan¬ 
dhi)  i  first  sent  Shrimati  Mirabehn  (Miss  Slade)  and  then 
Bibi  Amtus  Salam  (a  Muslim  lady  who  has  joined  his  Ash¬ 
ram  and  become  like  a  daughter  to  him)  to  help  Badshah 
Khan  especially  in  the  work  of  education  and  social  reform 
among  Muslim  women.  In  1939  Gandhiji  again  visited 
the  Frontier  Province,  but  during  the  interval  his  health 
had  suffered  a  serious  setback  and  he  was  unable  to  tour 
the  districts,  or  even  to  visit  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  cen¬ 
tre,  and  he  had  to  postpone  to  some  future  date  the  con¬ 
summation  of  his  and  Badshah  Khan’s  dream  of  going 
and  burying  themselves  among  the  Pathan  folk  and 
Khudai  Khidmatgar  trainees,  to  conduct  the  experiment 
of  evolving  the  non-violence  of  the  strong.  But  that  was 
never  to  be. 

On  3rd  September,  1939,  war  was  declared  between 
England  and  France  and  the  Axis  Powers.  On  the  23rd 
of  October  the  Congress  decided  to  go  into  the  wilderness 
and  the  Working  Committee  called  upon  the  Congress 
Ministries  to  resign  as  a  protest  against  India  being  de¬ 
clared  a  belligerent  country  without  her  consent,  and  the 
persistent  refusal  of  the  British  Government  to  apply  in 
her  case  the  principles  for  which  the  war  was  professed  to 
be  fought.  In  obedience  to  that  call  the  Congress  Ministry 

161 


P-11 


162 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


in  the  Frontier  Province  resigned  on  the  7th  of  November,, 
the  resignation  being  accepted  a  week  later.  No  alter¬ 
native  Ministry  could  be  formed  following  upon  its  re¬ 
signation,  and  the  Governor’s  rule  under  Section  93  of 
the  1935  Government  of  India  Act  was  clamped  down 
upon  the  province.  (The  deadlock  continued  till  May, 
1943.)  On  the  14th  of  October,  1940,  after  exhausting  all 
efforts  for  an  honourable  settlement,  the  Congress  under 
Gandhiji’s  leadership  launched  upon  an  individual  Civil 
Disobedience  campaign  on  the  issue  of  No-Participation- 
in-War  and  for  the  vindication  of  the  right  of  free  speech. 
Events  after  that  marched  quick  and  fast,  culminating  in 
the  August,  1942,  ‘  Quit  India  ’  struggle. 

Badshah  Khan  was  a  member  of  the  Congress  Work¬ 
ing  Committee  when  the  latter  made  its  famous  ‘  Poona 
Offer  ’  of  conditional  co-operation  in  the  war  effort  which 
resulted  in  Gandhiji  breaking  away  from  it  on  the  issue  of 
ahimsa.  Badshah  Khan  too  then  resigned  from  the  Work¬ 
ing  Committee  on  the  same  issue.  He  was  ‘arrested  and 
put  into  prison  during  the  ‘  Quit  India  ’  struggle,  as  were 
Gandhiji  and  all  other  prominent  Congressmen.  Gandhiji 
was  released  in  April,  1944.  The  face  of  things  in  the 
Frontier  Province  had  in  the  meantime  changed.  The 
Aurangzeb  Ministry  which  had  been  installed  in  the  place 
of  the  Congress  Ministry  in  May,  1943,  by  the  Governor, 
and  which  was  keeping  itself  in  office  only  by  the  arrest 
and  continued  incarceration  of  the  opposition  members  of 
the  legislature,  had  made  itself  thoroughly  unpopular  by 
its  cupidity,  ineptitude  and  corruption.  On  12th  March, 

1945,  as  a  result  of  a  no-confidence  motion,  it  was  over¬ 
thrown,  and  a  Congress  Ministry  under  Dr.  Khan  Saheb 
once  again  came  into  power  in  the  Frontier  Province.  One 
of  its  first  acts  was  to  order  the  release  of  Badshah  Khan, 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  and  other  popular  political 
prisoners. 

The  Cabinet  Delegation  arrived  in  India  in  March, 

1946,  and  elections  were  held  for  the  Central  Assembly  as 
well  as  in  the  province  in  the  month  of  May.  Badshah 
Khan  took  part  in  the  1946  elections.  But  it  was  more  to 


EPILOGUE 


163 


educate  the  voters  than  to  secure  votes.  “  I  have  not 
come  to  beg  votes  because  these  votes  and  the  present 
Assemblies  are  not  worth  a  penny  to  me,”  he  told  them. 
“  I  have  brought  you  a  message  of  friendship  and  good 
wishes  to  achieve  freedom  for  which  you  have  fought  for 

years.  You  are  on  the  threshold  of  freedom . avail 

yourself  of  this  chance.  Don’t  miss  the  bus  this  time.” 

Addressing  the  newly  elected  members  of  the  Con¬ 
gress  Parliamentary  Party  after  the  elections,  he  said, 
“You  are  aware  that  up  to  now  I  have  taken  no  direct 
interest  either  in  the  formation  of  the  Ministry  or  in  its 
working.  The  reason  is  quite  clear.  I  have  never  had 

any  inclination  for  such  things . now . friends 

have  impressed  upon  me  that  working  the  parliamentary 
programme  is  also  one  of  the  ways  of  serving  the  poor 
masses.”  • 

On  another  occasion  at  Karachi,  in  a  public  address, 
he  was  referred  to  as  ‘  Sultan  ’  !  His  reply  was  charac¬ 
teristic.  “  Brothers,  I  am  very  grateful  to  you  for  this. .  .  . 
address.  I  am  very  sorry,  you  have  referred  to  me  as 

Sultan . Our  movement  of  Khudai  Khidmatgars  was 

not  intended  to  create  Sultans.  You  know,  the  word 

Sultan  means  a  King  and  the  word  King . has  spelt 

poverty  and  misery . for  the  masses  everywhere . 

You  are  violating  the  very  fundamentals  of  the  Khudai 
Khidmatgar  movement,  when  you  talk  of  Sultans.” 

In  October,  1946,  Gandhiji  set  out  for  Noakhali  to 
build  a  golden  bridge  of  reconciliation  between  Hindus 
and  Muslims  after  the  fury  that  had  broken  loose  as  a 
result  of  communal  hatred  preached  by  the  protagonists 
of  the  ‘  Two,  Nations  ’  theory.  It  set  up  a  chain  of  similar 
communal  outbreaks  in  other  parts  of  the  country  in 
Bihar,  Calcutta,  the  U.  P.  and  at  last  in  the  Punjab  and  in 
Hazara  in  the  Frontier  Province  and  Sindh.  It  shook  the 
Khan  Brothers  to  their  depths  but  it  only  made  their 
faith  burn  brighter  and  clearer.  In  January,  1947,  Badshah 
Khan  set  out  to  join  Gandhiji  on  his  mission  of  peace  and 
mercy  in  Bihar,  where  his  dignity  and  poise,  rock-like 
firmness  and  abiding  faith  in  the  essential  goodness  of 


164 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


human  nature  and  God  stood  out  like  a  shining  beacon  in 
the  tempestuous  darkness  of  the  night. 

“  The  sincerity  of  the  man  which  shows  so  trans¬ 
parently  in  every  word  he  says  has  left  a  deep  impression 
on  his  audiences,”  reported  a  hard-boiled  pressman. 

“  There  was  nothing  new  in  what  he  said . Neverthe¬ 

less,  the  few  simple  words  coming  from  a  heavy  heart 
have  struck  an  answering  chord  in  many  of  his  hearers. 
The  scenes  of  fraternization  which  marked  one  of  the 
Frontier  Gandhi’s  meetings  and  the  coming  together  of 
all  communities  in  places  of  worship  are  reminiscent  of 
the  Khilafat  days.” 

“  These  are  mere  casual  incidents,”  the  correspond¬ 
ent  proceeded,  “  but  they  are  like  a  shining  beam  in  the 
prevailing  darkness.” 

“  Hindustan  today  seems  an  inferno  of  madness  and 
my  heart  weeps  to  see  our  homes  set  on  fire  by  ourselves,” 
Badshah  Khan  remarked  at  a  joint  gathering  of  Hindus, 
Muslims  and  Sikhs  in  Gurudwara  Harmandir,  the  birth¬ 
place  of  the  Sikh  Guru  Gobind  Singh,  in  Patna  City,  to 
which  he  had  been  invited.  “  I  find  today  darkness 
reigning  over  Hindustan  and  my  eyes  vainly  turn  from 
one  directiQn  to  another  to  see  light !  ”  He  was  fed  up  with 
power  politics,  he  said,  and  was  deeply  pained  at  the 
hatred  which  he  saw  being  preached  all  over  India.  As  a 
“  Servant  of  God  ”  he  was  eager  only  to  be  able  to  serve 
suffering  humanity.  At  the  close  of  the  meeting,  Hindus, 
Sikhs,  and  Muslims  accompanied  him  to  a  mosque  adja¬ 
cent  to  the  Gurudwara,  exchanged  greetings  and  embrac¬ 
ed  one  another. 

“  I  believe,  India  is  inhabited  by  one  single  nation  — 
Hindus  and  Muslims  included,”  he  declared  at  Monghyr. 
“  There  are  provinces  where  Hindus  are  in  a  hopeless 
minority,  as  there  are  places  where  Muslims  are  similarly 
situated.  If  what  has  happened  is  repeated  at  other  places 
and  the  majority  community  try  to  crush  and  kill  the 
minority  then  surely  the  fate  of  the  nation  would  be  sealed 
and  it  would  be  doomed  to  eternal  slavery.”  With  his 
characteristic  directness,  he  told  home  truths  to  all 


EPILOGUE 


165 


concerned.  He  did  not  spare  the  Congress  Minis¬ 
tries,  and  who  had  better  right  to  speak  to  nationalist 
India  than  he  ?  The  Provincial  Governments  under  the 
popular  Ministers  were  not  powerful  enough  to  check  any 
major  trouble,  he  said.  Pie  appealed  to  the  Muslim  Lea¬ 
gue  too.  “  I  would  draw  your  attention  to  the  fact  that 
the  precepts  of  Islam  are  the  most  tolerant  in  the  world 
and  if  we  are  to  be  true  Muslims  we  should  realize  this 
and  do  our  utmost  to  spread  toleration  amongst  our  bro¬ 
thers . Today,  I  see,  other  communities  are  far  more 

tolerant.  We  should  rectify  this  fault  in  ourselves . 

to  become  true  Muslims.” 

But  those  were  the  days  of  mass  dementia,  and  his 
remained  a  voice  in  the  wilderness.  As  early  as  December, 
1946,  from  Bihar,  incendiary  propagandists  had  carried 
the  embers  of  communal  conflagration  to  the  Frontier, 
and  in  February  and  March,  1947,  there  was  again  an  out¬ 
break  of  lawlessness  in  the  Hazara  District,  and  he  had 
to  hurry  back  to  his  province.  “  This  is  perhaps  the  most 
critical  period  in  the  history  of  our  country,”  he  observed 
in  a  statement  from  Peshawar.  “  Violence  is  in  the  air, 
mdhy  of  us  have  ceased  to  be  men.  We  have  become 
savages.”  The  whole  of  his  time  in  this  Frontier  Pro¬ 
vince,  he  said,  would  be  devoted  to  weaning  his  correii- 
gionists  from  savagery,  whether  in  the  Frontier  or  the 
trans-Frontier.  “  I  have  no  quarrel  with  the  Muslim  Lea¬ 
gue  or  with  the  British  official  world.  My  ardent  desire 
is  to  see  the  Pathan  and,  for  the  matter  of  that,  all  peoples 
of  the  world  free  from  domination.” 

“  I  warn  those  who  are  setting  our  dear  country  on 
fire  that  the  fire  kindled  by  them  will  consume  them  also,” 
he  observed  addressing  his  first  public  meeting  in  his  pro¬ 
vince  after  three  and  a  half  months  of  absence  in  Bihar. 
“  I  fail  to  understand  how  Islam  can  be  served  by  setting 

fire  to  religious  places . and  by  killing  and  looting 

innocent  people.” 

It  gladdened  his  lacerated  heart,  however,  that  during 
the  March  disturbances  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  had 
fully  come  up  to  his  expectations  and  10,000  of  them,  true 


166 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


to  their  pledge,  had  rushed  to  the  succour  of  their  Hindu 
and  Sikh  brethren  in  distress  and  helped  to  protect  their 
lives  and  property. 

The  more  he  pondered  over  the  root  cause  of  the  orgy 
of  killing  and  devastation  of  innocent  people’s  hearths  and 
homes,  the  more  distressed  he  became.  But  he  never 
lost  heart  and  exhorted  all  sane  elements  not  to 
despair  but  to  continue  their  peace  efforts  indefatigably. 
“  Why  do  you  despair  of  Hindu-Muslim  unity  ?  ”  he  had 
once  told  a  scoffer  and  a  sceptic.  “  No  true  effort  is  vain. 
Look  at  the  fields  over  there.  The  grain  sown  therein  has 
to  remain  in  the  earth  for  a  certain  time,  then  it 
sprouts,  and  in  due  time  yields  hundreds  of  its  kind.  The 
same  is  the  case  with  every  effort  in  a  good  cause.”  Ever 
since  his  release  in  1945,  he  had  been  devoting  himself  to 
reorganizing  and  purifying  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar  move¬ 
ment.  He  now  decided  to  send  out  bands  of  selfless  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  on  all-out  tours  in  the  province  to  appeal 
to  the  conscience  of  the  misguided  people  in  the  name  of 
God  and  humanity  and  bring  home  to  them  the  error  of 
their  ways.  “  I  hope  and  trust  God  will  help  me  in  the 
sacred  missidn,”  he  said,  “  and  people  will  duly  recognize 
that  the  essence  of  love,  truth  and  non-violence  is  the 
hall-mark  of  every  good,  free  and  prosperous  society  ”. 

II 

A  New  Ordeal 

But  God  had  another  ordeal  in  store  for  him.  The 
British  Cabinet  Delegation  which  had  been  sent  to  India, 
had  in  its  16th  of  May  Statement  outlined  a  plan  of 
“  grouping  ”  as  an  “  integral  part  ”  of  their  scheme  for 
the  transfer  of  power  to  the  people  of  India.  The  Muslim 
majority  areas  in  the  North-Western  and  the  Eastern 
Frontiers  of  India,  under  this  plan,  were  to  be  formed 
into  separate  groups.  The  representatives  of  these  res¬ 
pective  groups  would  go  into  a  section.  The  “  section  ” 
in  its  turn,  would  frame  the  constitution  for  the  group, 
individual  units  having  the  right  to  opt  out  by  a  majority 


EPILOGUE 


167 


vote  of  the  representatives  elected  under  the  new  group 
constitution.  Thus  the  North-West  Frontier  Province, 
the  Punjab,  Baluchistan  and  Sindh  came  under  group  ‘  B  ’, 
Assam  and  Bengal  under  group  ‘  C  \  while  the  remaining 
Provinces,  not  included  in  either  of  these  two  groups, 
were  put  in  Group  ‘  A  \  The  idea  was  in  this  way  to 
create  Muslim  majority  zones  in  the  north-west  and  the 
east,  which  would  give  to  the  Muslim  League  the  “  sub¬ 
stance  of  Pakistan  The  snag  lay  in  the  fact  that 
although  the  foundation  of  the  Cabinet  Mission’s  plan 
had  been  declared  to  be  voluntary,  the  effect  of  the  group¬ 
ing  clause  would  be  to  compel  the  North-West  Frontier 
Province,  for  instance,  to  join,  against  the  wishes  of  its 
elected  representatives,  group  ‘  B’  which  would  be 
dominated  by  the  protagonists  of  the  “  Two  Na¬ 
tions  ”  theory,  which  the  former  had  categorically 
repudiated.  It  was  further  conceivable  that  the  “  sec¬ 
tion  ”  might'  frame  a  constitution  which  might  render 
it  virtually  impossible  for  a  province  to  opt  out  of 
the  group  afterwards.  But  on  the  assumption  that 
nobody  could  coerce  a  province  to  join  a  group  if  its  people 
were  determined  not  to  go  into  it,  the  Congress  had 
accepted  the  May  16  plan  with  its  own  interpretation  of 
the  provisions  relating  to  grouping,  which  would  leave  the 
Frontier  Province  free  to  shape  its  destiny  in  the  way 
it  chose.  The  Khan  brothers  were  not  much  concerned 
about  the  political  aspect  of  grouping.  They  had  no  ob¬ 
jection  to  joining  any  group  or  section  which  was  prepared 
to  guarantee  to  the  Pathans  full  freedom  to  develop  on 
their  own  lines.  As  early  as  July,  1946,  Badshah  Khan 
had  declared,  “  I  have  no  objection  to  be  in  one  group 
with  the  Punjab,  Sindh  and  Baluchistan,  but  I  must  say 
this  —  that  before  entering  into  such  a  partnership  all  of 
us  should  sit  like  brothers  and  satisfy  each  other  by  re¬ 
moving  certain  doubts  and  assure  one  another  that  such 
■grouping  is  in  the  interest  of  each  province.  Some  people 
give  it  a  religious  colour,  but  that  is  not  correct.  What 
has  religion  got  to  do  with  it  ?  This  is  an  economic  pro¬ 
blem  —  a  question  of  pure  profit  and  loss.  Nothing  can 


168 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


be  done  by  force.  Even  a  father  cannot  compel  his  son 
these  days.  Apart  from  this  there  is  the  second  import¬ 
ant  question  that  requires  attention  — •  that  of  joining  the 
Hindus  when  we  are  surrounded  on  all  sides  by  the  Pun¬ 
jab.  Sindh  and  Baluchistan.  How  can  it  be  possible  that 
we  should  ignore  one  of  our  neighbours  and  over  and 
above  that  neighbour’s  head  join  others  ?  If  we  ever 
form  a  group,  it  can  only  be  with  the  Punjab,  Sindh  and 
Baluchistan  and  not  with  other  provinces,  as  all  Hindu 
majority  provinces  are  hundreds  of  miles  away  from  us.’r 

But  the  16th  May  plan  of  the  Cabinet  Delegation  fell 
through  and  on  20th  of  February,  1947,  Mr.  Atlee  declared 
in  the  House  of  Commons  that  in  the  event  of  an 
agreement  not  being  reached  among  the  major  parties  as 
regards  the  transfer  of  power  and  the  future  constitution 
on  the  basis  of  the  Cabinet  Delegation’s  May  16  plan,  the 
British  would  have  to  consider  how  and  to  whom  to  hand 
over  power  on  retirement.  It  was  hinted  that  in  the  case 
of  provinces  that  might  not  be  fully  represented  in  the 
Constituent  Assembly,  the  power  might  be  transferred  on 
the  basis  of  existing  Governments  in  those  provinces  at 
the  time.  This  meant  that  in  the  North-West  Frontier 
Province  the  power  might  be  transferred  to  the  Govern¬ 
ment  headed  by  Dr.  Khan  Saheb,  and  all  the  energies  of 
the  protagonists  of  the  “  Two  Nations  ”  theory  were  there¬ 
after  bent  therefore  to  overthrow  it.  And  what  could 
be  more  handy  for  the  purpose  than  an  appeal  to  com¬ 
munal  passions  ?  The  result  was,  as  we  have  already  seen,, 
a  widespread  recrudescence  of  lawlessness  against  the 
Hindus  and  Sikhs  in  various  parts  of  the  province,  first 
in  the  month  of  March  and  then  again  in  April.  Next, 
following  the  pattern  of  action  adopted  in  Assam  and  the 
Punjab,  ‘  Direct  Action  ’  was  launched  against  the  Khan 
Saheb  Ministry. 

In  March,  1947,  Lord  Mountbatten  came  to  India  as; 
Viceroy  in  the  place  of  Lord  Wave  11.  In  April,  1947,  he 
visited  the  Frontier  Province.  The  occasion  of  his  visit 
was  utilized  by  the  Muslim  League  volunteers  to  stage  a 
demonstration  and  the  Governor  took  him  to  attend  the 


EPILOGUE 


169 


rally  of  a  group  which  had  been  engaged  in  a  law-break¬ 
ing  campaign  against  his  own  Ministers,  a  strange  thing 
for  the  constitutional  hear!  of  a  province  to  do. 

The  Governor  did  another  strange  thing.  He  tried 
to  persuade  the  Viceroy  to  promulgate  Section  93  rule  in 
the  Frontier  Province  and  thereafter  order  fresh  elections. 
He  even  got  a  garbled  and  falsified  report  of  the  proceed¬ 
ings  of  a  Cabinet  meeting,  that  was  held  during  Lord 
Mountbatten’s  visit,  sent  to  the^Viceroy  and  refused  to  for¬ 
ward  the  note  of  his  own  Prime  Minister  embodying  the 
corrected  version,  which  had  to  be  sent  over  the  Governor’s 
head  to  the  authorities  at  Delhi.  The  fact  is  that  the  higher 
British  officials  in  the  North-West  Frontier  Province  were 
determined  to  salvage  as  much  as  possible  of  power,  which 
they  felt  was  slipping  out  of  their  hands,  by  passing  it  on 
to  their  protegee  and  ‘  traditional  ally  ’,  the  Muslim  Lea¬ 
gue,  originally  their  own  pampered  offspring,  which 
had  by  now  got  under  its  own  steam.  The  British 
Cabinet,  on  the  other  hand,  while  sincerely  anxious  to 
terminate  British  rule  in  India,  saw  no  other  solution  to 
their  dilemma  than  to  make  Partition  acceptable  to  the 
Muslim  League  'and  for  that  it  was  necessary  that  the 
North-West  Frontier  Province  should  willy-nilly  be  made 
to  fall  into  line  with  the  Muslim  League’s  demand.  It  is 
no  disparagement  of  British  sincerity  to  say  that  between 
the  British  Cabinet’s  good  intentions  and  the  higher  Bri¬ 
tish  officials’  intrigues  the  North-West  Frontier  Province- 
fell  a  casualty  and  in  the  result  justice  was  sacrificed  at 
the  altar  of  expediency. 

During  his  stay  in  Bihar,  Badshah  Khan  had  seriously 
thought  of  retiring  from  politics  altogether.  The  petti¬ 
ness  and  selfishness  of  the  game  of  power  politics  repelled 
him.  But  the  developments  in  the  Frontier  now  decided 
him  otherwise.  To  retire  from  public  life  at  that  stage, 
he  felt,  would  be  tantamount  to  leaving  the  Pathans  in  the 
lurch  in  their  critical  hour.  “  We  are  passing  through 
critical  times,  ”  he  said,  addressing  a  gathering  of  Moh- 
mand  tribesmen.  “  The  Englishmen  and  their  henchmen 
are  worried  over  the  prospect  of  losing  power.  People 


170 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


mislead  you  in  the  name  of  Islam . I  feel  it  my  duty 

to  warn  you  against  future  dangers  so  that  I  may  justify 

myself  before  man  and  God  on  the  Judgement  Day . 

I  cannot  rest.” 

Referring  to  Sir  Olaf  Caroe,  Governor  of  the  N.  W.  F. 
Province,  he  remarked':  “  I  have  been  in  Delhi  and  I  know 
from  intimate  knowledge  that  the  same  person  who  meets 
you  at  the  jirgas  and  claims  to  be  your  friend,  has  been 
submitting  reports  aginst  you  and  urging  the  authorities 
at  Delhi  to  keep  in  readiness  strong  squadrons  of  bombers 
to  rain  death  and  destruction  on  you.  Ask  him  when  he 
again  comes  to  you  at  jirgas  whether  what  I  say  is  true 
nr  not.  Let  him  face  me  if  he  denies  and  I  shall  quote 
chapter  and  verse  in  support  of  my  charge.” 

He  recalled  how  only  recently  Sir  Olaf  Caroe  had  told 
the  Frontier  Ministers  to  remember  that  there  was  no¬ 
thing  in  common  between  them  and  India  and  if  they 
would  agree  to  get  out  of  the  Congress,  he  would  give 
them  all  his  support ! 

Why  did  Sir  Olaf  Caroe  want  a  new  election  in  the 
Frontier,  he  asked.  In  the  1946  elections,  which  were 
fought  on  the  specific  issue  of  Pakistan,  out  of  50  seats 
the  Congress  had  secured  32  seats  including  21  out  of  the 
•38  Muslim  seats,  all  the  9  Hindu  seats  and  2  out  of  3  Sikh 
seats.  Out  of  the  17  Muslim  seats  which  their  opponents 
had  secured,  11  were  from  Hazara,  which  was  a  non- 
Pushtu-speaking  district.  “  Sir  Olaf’s  intention  is  plain. 
He  wants  to  hand  over  power  to  those  lackeys  and  hench¬ 
men  of  his  —  the  Khans,  the  Nawabs  and  some  officers  — 
who  helped  the  British  in  all  the  Khudai  Khidmatgar 
struggles  against  the  British.  At  the  time  of  the  transfer 
of  power,  Governor  Caroe  is  only  too  anxious  to  hand 
over  power  to  those  friends  of  the  British.  There  can  be 
no  other  meaning  of  a  fresh  election.  For  it  was  only  a 
year  ago  that  the  Pathans  had  given  clear  verdict  on  the 
election  issue  of  Pakistan.  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  were 
returned  by  the  vast  Pat,han  electorate  in  such  a  big 
majority. 


EPILOGUE 


171 


"It  is  dishonest  to  give  a  political  status  to  the 
communal  movement  of  the  Muslim  League,  whose  fol¬ 
lowers  have  been  indulging  in  crime.” 

The  Governor’s  argument  was  that  “  the  violent  de¬ 
monstrations  throughout  the  province  indicate  lack  of 
confidence  in  the  Ministry.”  Badshah  Khan  pointed  out 
that  the  Governor  could  have  helped  to  prevent  the  shed¬ 
ding  of  blood  if  he  had  done  his  duty.  In.  1930,  a  misguided 
Pathan  had  fired  at  a  British  officer  and  the  culprit  was 
arrested,  condemned  and  executed  within  forty-eight 
Lours.  When  Miss  Mollie  Ellis  was  abducted  and 
rescued,  it  was  held  up  by  a  leading  Tory  paper  as  an 
illustration  of  how  the  entire  resources  of  the  British 
Empire  could  be  mobilized  to  retrieve  the  honour  of  a 
British  woman.  During  the  six  years  of  war,  when  the 
British  themselves  were  in  trouble,  there  was  no  trouble 
in  the  tribal  territory.  The  British  then  wanted  peace 
and  there  was  peace.  And  now  hundreds  of  people  had 
been  butchered,  thousands  orphaned  and  rendered  home¬ 
less  while  the  British  power  in  the  Frontier  looked  on,  un¬ 
willing  to  take  drastic  measures,  which  their  own  Minis¬ 
ters  asked  for,  to  put  down  lawlessness,  and  instead,  point¬ 
ed  to  lawlessness  as  a  reason  for  the  removal  of  those 
Ministers,  who  had  been  returned  to  power  by  an  over¬ 
whelming  majority  of  the  voters  and  still  commanded  a 
majority  in  the  legislature. 

He  made  a  passionate  appeal  to  Muslim  Leaguers 
Xl  to  sit  with  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  in  a  joint  jirga  to 
tackle  various  important  issues  that  are  (were)  likely  to 
crop  up  after  the  departure  of  the  Britishers  from  India. 
Now  that  the  British  are  going,  they  should  sit  in  jirga 
with  us.  We  can  patch  up  our  differences  today  if  they 
meet  us  like  brothers  and  renounce  their  violent  methods. 
I  shall  agree  to  any  honourable  settlement  between  our¬ 
selves  if  an  earnest  effort  be  made.  Leaguers,”  he  said, 
“  fear  Hindu  domination,  while  we  fear  British  domina¬ 
tion.  Let  us  meet  together  and  convince  each  other.  We 
are  prepared  to  allay  their  fears.  But,  I  ask,  will  they  in 
turn  allay  ours  ?  ” 


172 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


In  June,  1947,  he  again  made  an  effort  at  compromise. 
He  told  the  Leaguers  that  they  were  quite  willing  to  join 
Pakistan  provided  (i)  it  was  on  honourable  terms,  (ii) 
in  case  Pakistan,  after  Independence,  decided  to  stay  on 
under  British  domination,  the  Pathans  in  the  Settled 
Districts  or  in  the  Tribal  areas  should  have  the  power  to 
opt  out  of  such  a  Dominion  and  form  a  separate  independ¬ 
ent  State,  (iii)  all  matters  concerning  tribal  people  should 
be  settled  by  the  Pathans  themselves,  without  the  inter¬ 
ference  or  domination  of  the  non-Pathans,  a  right  which 
had  been  conceded  even  by  the  existing  Constituent 
Assembly. 

The  offer  was  turned  down  and  the  Partition  came. 
The  Partition  plan  provided  for  a  referendum  to  be  held 
in  the  Frontier  Province  to  decide  on  the  issue  of  acces¬ 
sion.  This  was  again  an  anomaly.  In  Baluchistan  a 
quasi-representative  body  was  created  to  order,  to  function 
in  place  of  referendum.  In  the  Frontier  where  a  body  of 
popular  representatives  already  existed,  to  circumvent 
its  verdict,  recourse  was  had  to  referendum  on  a  spurious 
issue.  The  Khan  brothers  declared  that  the  issue  of  ac¬ 
cession  to  India  versus  Pakistan  was  already  dead  consi¬ 
dering  that  a  Partition  plan  had  been  accepted  in 
principle  both  by  the  Congress  and  the  Muslim  League 
and  the  Frontier  Province  was  geographically  isolated 
from  the  rest  of  India.  They  were  not  afraid  of  a  refer¬ 
endum  but  it  must  be  on  the  issue  of  autonomy  for  the 
Pathans  in  their  homelands.  In  the  alternative,  the 
Pathans,  said  Badshah  Khan,  wanted  absolute  freedom 
to  manage  their  affairs  “in  an  autonomous  Pathanistan 
within  the  Pakistan  State  ”. 

The  Pathan  has  a  very  strong  antipathy,  rooted  in 
history,  to  being  dominated  by  men  of  the  plains.  And 
accession  to  Pakistan,  he  feared,  would  mean  domination 
by  the  Punjabi  Muslim  capitalist  interests.  “  Our  province 
has  been  swamped  by  the  Punjabis  who  are  trying  their 
level  best  to  make  the  Pathans  fight  amongst  themselves,”' 
observed  Badshah  Khan  in  a  statement  to  the  Press.  “  Hav¬ 
ing  lost  a  good  portion  of  the  Punjab  through  a  communal 


EPILOGUE 


173 


0 


division,  the  Punjabi  Nawabs  and  big  capitalists  are  now 
after  our  province  in  order  to  make  good  their  loss.’' 
Replying  to  the  criticism  that  Pathanistan  could  not  be 
self-sufficient,  he  gave  a  reply  which  was  equally  charac¬ 
teristic  of  him  :  “We  shall  be  satisfied  with  oUr  thatched 
huts  and  dry  bread  if  our  freedom  remains  intact.  We 
prefer  it  to  palace  slavery.  It  is  wrong  to  say  that  Pathan¬ 
istan  will  be  a  deficit  State.  Today  we  are  carrying  on 
under  a  top-heavy  capitalist  administration  wherein  the 
Governor  alone  costs  us  lakhs  of  rupees.  Besides  there 
are  other  British  officials  who  take  away  a  large  portion 
of  our  provincial  revenue.  If  all  this  wastage  is  avoided, 
and  the  amount  spent  on  productive  schemes,  we  shall 
definitely  be  able  to  make  our  province  self-sufficient. 

“  Let  the  Muslim  League  agree  to  contest  the  referendum 
on  the  issue  of  Pakistan  versus  a  Free  Pathan  State,  and 
if  the  masses  vote  for  Pakistan  in  such  a  contest,  I  shall 
be  the  first  person  to  support  Pakistan.”  He  was  charged 
with  playing  the  game  of  Afghanistan.  It  was  a  palpably 
false  and  ridiculous  charge  to  fling  in  the  face  of  a  man 
with  whom  the  freedom  of  his  people  was  the  breath  of 
his  nostrils.  Even  Gandhiji  was  forced  to  break  his  self- 
imposed  silence  in  the  face  of  the  calumnious  propaganda 
against  one  whom  he  knew  to  be  the  soul  of  truth  and 
honour. 

“  Badshah  Khan  and  his  co-workers  do  not  relish 
being  asked  to  choose  between  Hindustan  and  Pakistan, 

bearing  the  unjust  meaning,  Hindus  or  Muslims . ,” 

he  observed  in  his  post-prayer  written  message  on  the 
30th  of  July,  his  weekly  day  of  silence  and  self-introspec¬ 
tion.  “  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  will,  therefore,  not  exer¬ 
cise  their  votes . The  charge  that  Pathanistan  is 

a  new  cry  is  being  flung  in  Badshah  Khan’s  face.  Even 
before  the  Congress  Ministry  came  into  being,  so  far  as 
I  know,  Badshah  Khan  had  in  his  mind  Pathan  Inde¬ 
pendence  in  internal  affairs.  He  does  not  want  to  create 
a  new  additional  State.  If  he  can  frame  his  local  consti¬ 
tution,  he  will  gladly  make  his  choice  of 'joining  one  State 


174 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


% 


or  the  other.  It  is  difficult  for  me  to  understand  the  ob¬ 
jection  to  this  yearning  after  Pathan  autonomy  unless 
the  object  is  to  humiliate  the  Pathans  and  to  tame  them 
into  subjection. 

“  The  more  serious  charge  is  that  Badshah  Khan  is 
playing  into  the  hands  of  Afghanistan.  I  consider  him 
to  be  incapable  of  any  underhand  dealing.  He  would  not 
allow  the  Frontier  Province  to  be  absorbed  by  Afghani¬ 
stan.” 

Gandhiji  went  on  to  add,  “  As  his  friend,  and  because 
I  am  his  friend,  I  must  admit  one  failing  of  his.  He  is 
highly  suspicious  especially  of  British  professions  and  in¬ 
tentions.  I  would  urge  on  all  to  overlook  this  failing 
which  is  by  no  means  peculiar  to  him.  Only  it  does  not 
sit  well  on  a  leader  of  his  eminence.  I  contend  that 
though  I  have  called  it  a  failing,  which  it  is  in  one  way, 
in  another,  it  is  to  be  regarded  as  a  virtue  in  that  he  can¬ 
not,  even  if  he  tries,  conceal  his  thoughts.  He  is  too 
honest  to  hide  them.” 

So  the  referendum  was  held.*  The  Khudai  Khidmatgar 
party  and  its  supporters  took  no  part  in  it,  and  the  Front¬ 
ier  Province  was  declared  to  be  a  part  of  Pakistan.  But 
for  Badshah  Khan  the  battle  was  not  lost.  It  had  just 
begun.  Hitherto  they  had  to  wage  a  struggle  against  the 
British  who  were  foreigners.  Now  their  own  brethren 
were  in  power.  Surely  they  could  expect  a  fair  deal  from 
them.  They  had  not  fought  all  these  years  merely  to 
exchange  one  yoke  for  another.  Dr.  Khan  Saheb’s  Ministry 

*  As  for  the  “  climate  ”  on  the  eve  of  the  referendum  in  Hazara, 
the  following  published  statement  of  a  Muslim  League  M.L.A.  from 
Hazara,  dated  3rd  July,  1946,  will  give  an  indication : 

“  I  warn  the  Ministry  that  if  any  Minister  tries  to  visit 
Hazara  District  for  Congress  propaganda,  he  will  be  killed,”  de¬ 
clared  Khan  Jalaluddin,  M.L.A. ,  Hazara  District,  in  the  course 
of  a  meeting  held  at  Abbottabad  to  canvass  support  for  Pakistan. 
He  further  added  that  before  returning  to  Hazara  the  Hindus  and 
Sikhs  should  clearly  declare  their  full  support  to  Pakistan  and 
send  a  copy  of  such  a  declaration  to  the  League  Office  if  they 
want  to  live  peacefully  in  the  District.” 

—  Hindustan  Times,  3-7-’46 


EPILOGUE 


175 


was  still  in  power  after  the  Partition.  It  was  too  firmly 
established  to  be  dislodged  by  normal  constitutional 
means.  So  on  21st  of  August,  1947,  it  was  dismissed  by 
Qaid-e-Azam  by  a  ukase. 

On  September  3  and  4,  1947,  at  a  large  gathering  con¬ 
sisting  of  the  Provincial  jirgas,  the  Parliamentary  Party, 
Zalme  Pukhtoon  (The  Young  Pathan  League),  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  and  representatives  from  Tribal  areas  at 
Sardaryab,  Badshah  Khan  once  more  defined  his  demand 
of  Pathanistan  to  mean  full  freedom  for  the  Pathans  to 
manage  their  internal  affairs  as  a  uqit  within  the  Pakistan 
State.  “  This  new  State,”  ran  one  of  the  resolutions  adopt¬ 
ed  in  the  meeting,  “  will  comprise  the  present  six  Settled 
Districts  of  the  North-West  Frontier  Province  and  all  such 
other  contiguous  areas  inhabited  by  the  Pathans  which 
may  wish  to  join  the  new  State  of  their  own  free  will. 
This  State  will  enter  into  agreement  on  Defence,  External 
Affairs  and  Communications  with  the  Dominion  of  Pakis¬ 
tan. 

“  I  have  been  working  for  the  establishment  of 
Pathanistan  all  my  life,”  said  Badshah  Khan  in  the  course 
of  his  address  at  Sardaryab.  “  It  was  for  the  purpose  of 
achieving  unity  among  the  Pathans  that  the  Khudai  Khid- 
matgar  organization  was  started  in  1930.  I  stand  for  those 
principles  today  for  which  I  stood  in  1930.  My  path  is 
therefore  quite  clear.  I  will  not  forsake  it  even  if  I  stand 
alone  in  the  world.” 

But  the  campaign  of  vilification  against  and  persecu¬ 
tion  of  Badshah  Khan  and  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  con¬ 
tinued.  Nothing  daunted,  Badshah  Khan  carried  on  an 
untiring  campaign  to  educate  and  organize  public  opinion 
for  the  realization  of  his  ideal  of  Pathanistan. 

Ill 

The  Lone  Witness 

In  January,  1948,  Gandhiji  who  had  inspired  him  and 
guided  his  footsteps  on  the  path  of  ahimsa  all  these  years, 
fell  to  the  assassin’s  bullet  and  the  Frontier  Gandhi  was 


176 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


left  albne  to  carry  on  his  great  and  perilous  non-violent 
experiment  among  the  Pathans,  which  the  two  Gandhis 
had  jointly  planned  and  conducted.  Never  did  he  show 
himself  to  greater  advantage  or  rise  to  greater  heights 
than  in  the  months  following  upon  Gandhiji’s  martyrdom. 

In  February,  1948,  he  decided  to  go  to  Karachi  to  at¬ 
tend  the  Dominion  Parliament  with  the  express  object  of 
removing  the  misunderstanding  that  had  been  created  in 
regard  to  him  among  the  Muslims  of  Pakistan  by  a  sys¬ 
tematic  propaganda  of  misrepresentation.  In  a  series  of 
trenchant  statements  to  the  Press  he  clarified  his  stand 
as  regards  Pathanistan  : 

“  Pathanistan  or  Pukhtoonistan,”  he  explained 
“  would  be  an  autonomous  unit  in  Pakistan.  It  would 
stand  for  the  Pathans  just  as  Sindh  stood  for  the  Sindhis, 
or  the  Punjab  for  the  Punjabis  and  Bengal  for  the  Ben¬ 
galis.  The  name  North-West  Frontier  Province  was  a 
British  innovation  and  as  such  it  ought  not  to  continue.” 

He  categorically  denied  as  baseless  the  charge  that 
he  wanted  to  truncate  Pakistan  by  forging  an  independent 
sovereign  State  of  Pathanistan.  The  very  fact  that  he 
would  be  taking  the  oath  of  allegiance  to  the  constitution 
of  Pakistan  ought  to  give  a  lie  to  that  allegation.  Explain¬ 
ing  further  the  rationale  of  their  demand,  he  said  that  the 
Frontier  people  were  politically  backward  and  belonged 
mostly  to  the  poor  and  the  middle  classes.  There  was  no 
capitalist  class  among  them  whereas  Pakistan  was  domi¬ 
nated  by  very  rich  zamindars,  capitalists  and  the  upper 
Classes.  The  policy  now  followed  by  Pakistan  towards  the 
Pathans  was  worse  than  the  “  Divide  and  Rule  ”  policy 
of  the  British.  The  English  rulers  had  not  demoralized 
the  Pathans  as  the  Pakistan  authorities  had  done  now. 

He  replied  in  the  negative  to  a  question  whether  there 
was  any  connection  whatsoever  between  the  Fakir  of  Ipi 
and  his  organization.  He  emphasized  that  all  reports  of 
this  nature  were  absolutely  false  and  spread  by  their  ene¬ 
mies. 

He  denied  that  there  was  a  link  between  their  orga¬ 
nization  and  Afghanistan  over  the  question  of  Pathanistan. 


THEIR  LAST  PUBLIC  APPEARANCE  TOGETHER 
(AT  THE  ASIAN  CONFERENCE,  1947) 
Gandhiji :  “  If  India  fails,  Asia  dies.” 


EPILOGUE 


177 


There  were  no  other  ties  between  them  and  Afghanistan 
except  that  the  people  of  both  countries  belonged  to  the 
same  racial  stock  and  were  connected  with  ties  of  blood. 

Badshah  Khan  also  denied  having  any  connection 
with  or  knowledge  of  the  recent  move  of  the  Afghanistan 
Government  for  the  grant  of  the  right  of  self-determina¬ 
tion  to  Pathans  and  in  respect  of  some  other  questions 
which  had  lately  arisen  between  Afghanistan  and  Pakis¬ 
tan.  It  was  purely  a  matter  between  these  two  Govern¬ 
ments,  he  asserted. 

Denying  emphatically  the  charge  that  his  demand 
fur  Pathanistan  amounted  to'  provincialism  and  that  it 
was  therefore  against  the  spirit  of  common  brotherhood 
of  Islam,  Badshah  Khan  asserted  :  “  The  essence  of  Islam 
is  equality  and  not  domination  of  one  by  another.  We 
Pathans  do  not  want  to  usurp  the  rights  of  others,  nor 
do  we  want  them  to  do  so.  In  Pakistan  there  are  four 
peoples,  viz.,  the  Pathans,  the  Bengalis,  the  Punjabis  and 
the  Sindhis.  We  are  all  brothers.  What  we  want  is  that 
no  one  of  them  should  interfere  in  the  affairs  of  the  other. 
All  should  enjoy  complete  autonomy.  If  one  needs  and 
asks  for  the  help  of  the  other,  it  should  be  given.” 

Asked  whether  that  would  not  weaken  Pakistan, 
Badshah  Khan  said  that  on  the  contrary  it  would  bring 
about  willing  co-operation  between  the  various  units.  He 
added,  “  I  told  Qaid-e-Azam  Jinnah  to  allow  the  Pathans 
to  become  a  strong  nation  for  their  own  defence  and  for 
the  defence  of  the  Muslims  of  Pakistan  and  for  the  good 
of  humanity.  I  am  a  humble  servant  of  humanity.” 

Asked  whether  they  would  demand  a  plebiscite  on 
the  question  of  Pathanistan  and  why  they  had  boycotted 
the  referendum,  Badshah  Khan  replied  that  the  referen¬ 
dum  had  been  boycotted  because  of  the  wrong  issues 
raised  therein  and  also  because  of  the  improper-  manner 
of  taking  it.  Now  there  was  no  question  of  having  a  fresh 
referendum  on  that  matter  which  they  would  try  to  settle 
directly  with  Pakistan. 

Asked  whether  he  did  not  apprehend  that  after  the 
death  of  Gandhi ji  the  condition  of  Muslims  in  India  would 

P-12 


178 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


worsen,  Badshah  Khan  emphatically  disagreed  and  added, 
“  As  long  as  in  India  there  are  alive . at  the  top  lead¬ 

ers  following  the  principles  of  Gandhiji  such  as  Pandit 
Nehru,  Babu  Rajendraprasad  and  several  others,  Mus¬ 
lims  in  India  have  nothing  to  fear.  Their  condition  will 
not  worsen.” 

As  an  illustration  of  the  length  to  which  persecution 
could  go,  he  narrated  how  in  the  month  of  January,  1948, 
a  young  boy  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  had  come  and 
stayed  with  him,  carrying  a  pistol  in  those  days  of  trouble 
and  disorder  to  defend  himself,  if  need  be.  This  pistol 
belonged  to  the  boy’s  uncle  and  both  he  and  the  boy  said 
that  Badshah  Khan  had  nothing  at  all  to  do  with  the 
pistol  nor  even  had  any  knowledge  of  it.  Still  Badshah 
Khan  was  convicted  and  sentenced  to  a  fine  of  Rs.  2  or 
in  the  alternative,  to  “  imprisonment  till  the  rising  of  the 
court  ”.  He  refused  to  pay  the  fine. 

He  concluded  by  reiterating  his  faith  in  non-violence, 
absolute  and  unqualified  :  “I  am  a  practical  man  and 
will  judge  things  by  their  results.  For  the  time  being, 
my  main  business  will  be  to  wait  and  watch.  In  all  my 
actions,  I  will  be  wedded  to  non-violence,  which  has  been 
the  sheet-anchor  of  my  life.” 

All  eyes  were  turned  on  him  when,  speaking  for  the 
first  time  in  the  Pakistan  Dominion  Parliament,  on  the 
6th  of  March,  1948,  he  elucidated  the  significance  of  the 
Pathanistan  movement  and  made  an  impassioned  plea  for 
toleration  and  the  practice  of  the  Islamic  teaching  of 
equality  and  brotherhood  in  order  to  make  Pakistan  strong 
and  prosperous. 

Moving  his  cut  motion  to  discuss  general  administra¬ 
tion,  he  declared  that  “  six  months  of  freedom  found 
Pakistan  having  an  administration  much  more  foreign 
and  bureaucratic  than  even  that  which  existed  during  the 
worst  days  of  British  rule.  This,”  he  said,  “  was  in  glar¬ 
ing  contrast  to  India  where  at  least  more  Indian  Gover¬ 
nors  were  administering  an  almost  Indianized  administra¬ 
tion.  The  Government  in  Pakistan  must  become  the 


EPILOGUE  179 

servants  of  the  people,  and  except  technical  experts  no 
foreign  element  should  be  permitted.” 

Remarking  that  the  Muslim  League’s  work  was  over 
with  the  establishment  of  Pakistan,  Badshah  Khan  urged 
its  liquidation  and  the  formation  in  its  place  of  a  purely 
non-communal  body  pledged  to  serve  the  poor  and  the 
meek.  Replying  to  ministerial  interruptions,  he  retorted 
that  Muslim  Leaguers,  particularly  the  Punjabis,  were 
responsible  for  provincialism  since  the  time  Sind  was  sepa¬ 
rated.  The  Pathans  wanted  the  same  self-autonomous 
status  as  Sind,  the  Punjab  and  Bengal,  he  asserted.  He 
desired  neither  to  divide  nor  destroy  Pakistan.  India, 
he  declared,  had  achieved  freedom.  Pakistan,  with  Bri¬ 
tish  Governors  and  more  British  in  its  administration  than 
had  been  the  case  for  years,  had  passed  from  one  oppres¬ 
sion  to  an  even  greater  one.  The  Pakistan  Government 
rule  the  country  on  such  lines  as  the  British  had  perfect¬ 
ed  and  was  in  fact  worse  with  its  ordinance  rule 
and  foreign,  extravagant  ways  of  living.  It  com¬ 
plained  of  provincialism,  but  provincialism  was  the  pro¬ 
duct  of  the  Muslim  League  and  of  the  Punjabis.  “  I  want 
Pathanistan,  but  I  want  Pathanistan  inside  Pakistan  just 
as  the  Sindhis  want  Sind  and  the  Punjabis  want  the  Pun¬ 
jab.” 

Continuing  further,  he  said,  “  The  Muslim  League, 
existing  as  a  communal  organization,  must  be  re-formed 
on  an  inclusive  basis  for  all  nationals  of  Pakistan  if  it 
is  to  contribute  to  the  good  of  the  country.  While  Paki¬ 
stan  must  employ  British  and  American  technicians  for 
industrial  development,  they  must  be  removed  from  the 
administration,  or  the  faith  of  Pakistanis  will  vanish.” 

In  a  Press  statement,  he  gave  a  long  catalogue  of  per¬ 
secutions  to  which  he  and  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  were 
subjected.  The  Pakistan  Government  had  denied  having 
gagged  his  paper  Pakhtoon  ;  only  their  District  Magistrate 
had  refused  to  accept  the  declaration  authorizing  its  con¬ 
tinuance  after  the  previous  publisher  had  resigned.  “  If 
non-acceptance  of  a  paper’s  declaration  and  its  consequent 


180 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


enforced  discontinuance  is  not  gagging,  I  wonder  what 
else  it  is  ?  ” 

As  regards  civil  liberties,  in  Mardan  District,  he  was 
not  allowed  even  to  continue  social  contacts  and  exchange 
visits  with  his  friends.  When  he  had  to  appear  in  court, 
Section  144,  Criminal  Procedure  Code  was  clamped  down 
on  the  whole  area.  On  the  occasion  of  Mirwas  celebra¬ 
tions,  the  very  same  section  was  applied  to  the  whole  of 

Mardan  and  Peshawar  Districts . True, . it  had 

for  its  objective  suppression  of  those  who  had  been  agi¬ 
tating  for  more  food.  But  merely  because  it  affected  Mus¬ 
lim  Leaguers  also,  it  did  not  follow  that  people’s  civil  liber¬ 
ties  were  intact.  On  the  contrary,  it  only  aggravated  the 
charge  inasmuch  as  it  proved  that  the  fundamental  liber¬ 
ties  of  even  the  Government’s  own  party  men  had,  in  the 
new  set-up,  disappeared.  Thousands  of  citizens  had  been 
put  behind  the  bars,  without  any  legal  trial,  under  Section 
40  of  the  Public  Safety  Ordinance.  Could  Government 
furnish  its  own  figures  ? 

Again,  he  did  not  know  the  precise  nature  of  the 
mechanism  devised  by  the  Government  to  black-out  news 
of  the  opposition  parties,  he  remarked.  But  the  fact 
remained  that  in  two  important  Red  Shirt  gatherings, 
though  the  Press  representatives  were  present,  the  pro¬ 
ceedings  were  not  published  in  any  of  the  newspapers 
anywhere.  “  Surely,  the  Press  representatives  had  not 
undertaken  all  that  trouble  aimlessly.” 

Such  things,  he  concluded,  were  quite  intelligible 
when  foreigners  ruled  over  the  country.  But  now  that 
Pakistan  had  become  free,  and  a  popular  Islamic  Govern¬ 
ment  was  said  to  have  come  into  existence,  it  baffled  his 
imagination  why  their  Provincial  Government  chose  to 

use  “the  same  old  bureaucratic . methods  of  the 

foreigner-imperialists.” 

A  touching  little  incident  which  was  reported  at  that 
time  in  the  Press  may  be  recorded  here  for  its  human 
interest.  During  his  last  visit  to  Karachi,  he  was 
accompanied  by  about  thirty  Khudai  Khidmatgars 
who,  though  themselves  poor,  had  come  at  their 


EPILOGUE 


181 


own  expense  and  constituted  themselves  into  his 
bodyguard.  They  kept  a  constant  vigil  by  turns  with 
arms  at  his  residence  in  his  village  of  Utmanzai  and  else¬ 
where  during  his  movements,  in  order  to  protect  him  in 
the  event  of  an  attack  on  his  life.  Ten  years  before  f  when 
Gandhi ji  was  his  guest  at  Utmanzai,  the  question  of 
posting  armed  night-guards  for  the  safety  of  Gandhiji  had 
arisen.  Badshah  Khan  remembered  the  dialogue  *  he  had 
with  him  on  that  occasion.  “  Badshah  Khan,”  ran  a 
press  report,  “  had  several  times  admonished  them  for 
keeping  an  armed  guard  over  him  in  view  of  his  adher¬ 
ence  to  the  principle  of  non-violence.  Still  they  had  stuck 
to  what  they  conceived  to  be  their  duty.  They  have  great 
concern  for  the  life  of  their  beloved  leader  and  their  devo¬ 
tion  to  him  is  touching.  They  have  to  undergo  great 

privations . but  they  do  not  relax  the  watch . 

even  for  a  single  minute.” 

After  Gandhiji’s  passing  away,  Badshah  Khan,  whose 
name  had  already  become  a  legend,  became  the  hope  and 
succour  of  the  downtrodden  and  the  oppressed  in  Pakistan 
and  the  rallying  focus  of  all  progressive  and  liberal  ele¬ 
ments.  At  a  tea  party  given  in  his  honour  at  Karachi,  it  was 
remarked  by  a  representative  of  the  minority  community 
of  Sindh  that  during  the  life  time  of  Mahatmaji  they 
always  went  up  to  him  for  solving  their  difficulties,  but 
after  his  passing  away,  they  would  have  to  run  on  such 
occasions  to  Badshah  Khan,  “  whom  they  revered  next  to 
Mahatmaji  ”.  They  therefore  requested  him  to  guide 
them  in  the  difficult  time  that  lay  ahead.  Pouring  out  his 
soul  in  a  reply  full  of  noble  pathos,  Badshah  Khan 
said  that  it  was  the  time  of  test  and  tribulations 
for  all.  The  Khudai  Khidmatgars  had  got  their  Minis¬ 
try  in  the  North-West  Frontier  Province,  but  after 
some  years  it  was  lost  to  them  because  the  Ministry 
had  not  served  the  masses  and  the  poor  to  the 
extent  it  should  have  done.  It  did  not  adequately 
fulfil  its  pledges  to  the  masses.  He  said  he  had  warned 


t  Described  on  page  54. 
*  See  Chapter  VI. 


182 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


the  Congress  Working  Committee  of  this  weakness  of  the 
Congress  Ministry  in  the  North-West  Frontier  Province, 
but  matters  were  not  set  right  either  by  the  Working 
Committee  or  the  Ministry  itself.  “  Truth  and  righteous¬ 
ness  will  ultimately  prevail  in  the  world,”  said  Badshah 
Khan,  “  and  only  unselfish  and  devoted  leaders,  and  not 
selfish  and  self-seeking  ones,  can  secure  the  advancement 
of  the  country.  Only  when  these  qualities  manifest  them¬ 
selves  in  the  leaders,  both  of  India  and  Pakistan,  will  the 
road  to  prosperity  and  advancement  open  before  those 
countries.” 

Badshah  Khan  continued  that  he  had  listened  care¬ 
fully  to  the  tale  of  woe  of  the  minorities  in  West  Pakistan. 
Trials  and  tests,  he  said,  were  always  inflicted  by  God  on 
mankind  but  only  those  nations,  organizations  and  in¬ 
dividuals  who  faced  them  with  patience,  endurance  and 
courage  ultimately  came  out  successful. 

Since  the  inauguration  of  Pakistan,  he  said,  pure 
Ordinance  Rule  had  been  established  in  the  North-West 
Frontier  Province.  Pakistan  could  not  have  come 
into  existence  but  for  the  fight  for  freedom  car¬ 
ried  on  for  long  by  the  Pathans  and  other  sections 
in  the  country.  If  they  had  not  forced  the  British 
to  surrender  power,  Pakistan  could  not  have  come 
into  being.  But  while  quitting  the  country,  the  British 
rulers  did  not  transfer  power  to  those  who  had  fought 
for  freedom,  but  to  others  who  had  done  nothing  for  it. 

He  was  essentially  a  man  of  religion,  he  told  the 
gathering,  and  he  had  always  urged  that  the  pledges  of 
service  to  the  poor  made  by  them  before  God  must  be 
translated  into  action,  which  they  had  unfortunately  not 
done,  and  owing  to  which  they  had  suffered.  At  the 
moment  of  trial,  they  must  control  their  anger  and  have  a 
rigid  code  of  morals  and  ideals  which  they  must  stick  to 
through  thick  and  thin  and  see  that  the  code  was  also 
applied  to  the  running  of  the  Government  administration. 

In  the  course  of  his  remarks  before  a  gathering  of  the 
Pathans  belonging  mostly  to  the  labouring  class,  he  allow¬ 
ed  his  outspokenness  to  proceed  perhaps  to  a  perilous 


EPILOGUE 


183 


length.  The  Pathans,  he  said,  had  for  over  a  quarter  of 
a  century  been  in  the  vanguard  of  the  battle  of  freedom 
against  the  British  and  it  was  they  who  had  made  Paki¬ 
stan  possible.  The  capitalist  class  at  the  head  of  Pakistan 
administration  feared  the  Pathans  because  they  were 
unselfish  and  ever  ready  to  suffer  in  the  cause  of  the 
country. 

He  had  been  strongly  opposed  to  the  division  of  India, 
he  said.  His  stand  had  been  well  justified,  judging  from 
the  bath  of  blood  and  untold  miseries  through  which 
millions  of  people  had  subsequently  to  pass.  Since  the 
inauguration  of  Pakistan,  however,  he  had  regarded  “  the 
good  or  harm  done  to  Pakistan  as  if  it  were  done  to  him¬ 
self.” 

The  Pathans,  said  Badshah  Khan,  were  apprehensive  as 
to  their  future  and  wanted  to  know  their  exact  place  in 
Pakistan.  If  it  was  really  intended  to  treat  them  as  bro¬ 
thers,  they  should  be  consulted  about  the  form  of  adminis¬ 
tration  in  Pakistan  and  other  matters.  In  India,  the  Provin¬ 
cial  Cabinets  were  consulted  about  the  choice  of  their 
Governors  whereas  in  the  North-West  Frontier  Province, 
^n  English  bureaucrat,  disliked  by  the  Pathans,  had  been 
inflicted  over  their  heads.  The  Pathans  consequently 
wanted  to  know  their  status  in  Pakistan.  Would  they  be 
treated  as  equals  ? 

The  Khudai  Khidmatgars,  he  said,  did  not  want 
anything  but  the  removal  of  the  present  poverty  and 
backwardness  of  the  masses  of  Pakistan,  and  in  their  efforts 
in  that  direction,  they  would  stick  through  thick  and  thin 
to  their  life-long  principle  of  non-violence. 

On  the  15th  of  April,  1948,  he  had  a  meeting  with 
Qaid-e-Azam  Jinnah.  The  latter,  it  seems,  wanted  to  know 
if  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  would  be  prepared  to  merge 
themselves  with  the  Muslim  League  or  co-operate  with 
the  Frontier  Ministry  by  going  into  a  coalition  with  it.  In 
reply,  Badshah  Khan,  while  reiterating  his  loyalty  to 
Pakistan,  expressed  his  inability  either  to  merge  with  the 
Muslim  League  or  to  enter  into  a  coalition  with  the  Front¬ 
ier  Ministry.  Qaid-e-Azam  thereupon  announced  at  a 


184 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


mammoth  gathering  that  the  negotiations  between  him 
and  Badshah  Khan  had  failed.  He  urged  the  Pathans  “  to 
totally  disown  such  people  who  make  a  pretension  of 
loyalty  to  the  Pakistan  State  but  are  out  really  to  weaken 
its  edifice.” 

On  the  13th  of  May,  Badshah  Khan  announced  that 
he  had  decided  to  extend  his  Khudai  Khidmatgar  move¬ 
ment  to  all  provinces  in  Pakistan.  His  organization 
of  Khudai  Khidmatgars,  he  explained,  would  serve 
as  a  volunteer  corps  to  the  Pakistan  People’s  Party, 
which  had  just  been  formed  and  which  elected  him 
as  its  first  provisional  President.  It  was  a  non-com- 
munal  organization  inclusive  of  progressive  sections 
in  Pakistan  that  stood  for  liberal,  democratic  ideals.  The 
aims  and  objects  of  the  organization  inter  alia  were  : 
“  stabilization  and  security  of  Pakistan  as  a  ‘  Union  of 
Socialist  Republics,  drawing  its  sanction  and  authority 
from  the  people  through  their  willing  consent  ’ ;  provision 
of  full  and  unimpaired  autonomy  for  all  and  cultural  rela¬ 
tions  with  neighbouring  States  particularly  with  the 
Indian  Union 

The  convention  before  adjourning  passed  reso¬ 
lutions  condemning  the  repressive  policy  of  the  Frontier 
Government  in  incarcerating  in  jail  hundreds  of  Khudai 
Khidmatgars  and  demanding  its  complete  reversal  in  the 
interest  of  Pakistan,  and  urging  the  release  of  Baluchi¬ 
stan’s  nationalist,  leader,  Khan  Abdus  Samad  Khan. 

The  convention  which  met  in  May,  1948,  declared 
that  the  People’s  Organization  would  be  fully  prepared  to 
co-operate  with  any  party  in  power  “  within  and  without 
the  legislature  on  the  basis  of  an  agreed  programme  en¬ 
suring  stability,  integrity  and  prosperity  of  the  new  State.” 

It  was  also  resolved  that  in  the  absence  of  such  an 
understanding,  the  policy  of  this  organization  would  be  to 
support  the  existing  Government  in  Pakistan. 

The  formation  of  the  new  Pakistan  People’s  Organiza¬ 
tion,  it  was  soon  made  clear,  was  not  regarded  with  favour 
by  the  Pakistan  authorities.  Khan  Abdul  Qayyum  Khan, 
North-West  Frontier  Province  Premier,  denounced  the 


EPILOGUE 


185 


Red  Shirt  leader,  Khan  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan,  as  an  “enemy 
trying  seriously  to  undermine  the  Pakistan  Government  ”, 
and  characterized  the  oath  of  allegiance  taken  by  him  and 
his  party  as  “  nothing  better  than  a  farce 

“We  will  not  hesitate  to  take  measures  if  and  when 
we  feel  necessary  in  the  interests  of  our  peace-loving  citi¬ 
zens,”  he  significantly  added. 

Badshah  Khan  was  dubbed  a  disruptionist.  “  The 
more  I  think,  the  more  I  find  myself  unable  to  understand 
what  the  powers  that  be  are  heading  for,”  remarked  Bad¬ 
shah  Khan  in  a  press  statement.  “  They  appeal  for  soli¬ 
darity  and  strength  of  the  State  in  the  name  of  Islam,  but 
at  the  same  time  they  are  pursuing  a  policy  of  short¬ 
sightedness  and  petty -mindedness  towards  those  of  us  who 
are  at  one  with  them  in  the  fundamental  principle  of 
Pakistan’s  strength,  plenty  and  prosperity,  but  who  con¬ 
scientiously  differ  from  them  as  regards  methods,  approach 
and  outlook  towards  that  end. 

“  In  the  sister  Dominion  of  India,  before  Partition,  the 
Hindu  Mahasabha  and  Dr.  Ambedkar’s  Scheduled  Castes 
Federation  were  deadly  opposed  to  the  Congress  consist¬ 
ently  at  every  step,  but  immediately  when  India  attained 
freedom,  all  rival  parties  joined  hands  with  the 
result  that  Dr.  Syama  Prasad  Mookerjee  and  Ambedkar 
are  now  colleagues  of  Pandit  Nehru  and  Sardar  Patel, 
although  they  have  not  merged  their  respective  organiza¬ 
tions  in  the  Congress  Party  in  power.  As  against  this, 
what  is  happening  in  Pakistan  is  utterly  unfortunate  and 
if  this  continues,  not  only  those  Muslim  League  leaders  but 
the  nation  itself  will  have  to  suffer.  I  have  so  many  times, 
through  press  and  platform,  pledged  our  loyalty  to  Paki¬ 
stan,  but  still  division  is  being  created  between  Muslims 
and  Muslims  by  their  unfriendly,  rather  inimical  attitude 
towards  my  party-men.  I  told  them  frankly,  ‘  We  don’t 
come  in  the  way  of  your  administration,  we  don’t  want 
power,  let  Ministries,  etc.,  be  your  monopoly,  allow  us  to 
serve  our  countrymen  in  our  own  constructive  way,’  but 
even  then  they  would  not  leave  us  to  ourselves.” 

On  the  conclusion  of  the  Constituent  Assembly’s  ses- 


186  A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE  . 

sion  at  Karachi  Badshah  Khan  returned  to  the  Frontier 
Province  to  place  before  the  people  the  programme  of 
Jamiat-ul-Awam  or  the  new  Pakistan  People’s  Party. 

“  I  have  witnessed  the  show  of  the  Pakistan  Consti¬ 
tuent  Assembly,”  he  observed,  addressing  a  mammoth 
gathering  in  Mardan  District.  “  There  is  absolutely  no  dif¬ 
ference  between  the  Pakistan  leaders  and  the  old  British 
bureaucrats. 

“  The  most  plausible  argument  which  is  usually  ad¬ 
vanced  in  their  favour  is  that  the  new  State  is  yet  in  its 
infancy.  I  invite  them  to  look  to  India  where  the  leaders 
have  safely  piloted  the  ship  of  State,  despite  extremely 
stormy  weather.  They  have  framed  their  new  constitu¬ 
tion.  whereas  nothing  so  far  has  been  done  in  Pakistan. 

“  The  only  conclusion  one  can  draw  is  that  the  pre¬ 
sent  leaders  of  Pakistan  are  afraid  of  the  democratic  set¬ 
up.  The  leaders,  who  have  their  own  axe  to  grind, 
consider  Pakistan  as  their  personal  jagir.  It  is  a  pity  that 
all  of  them  are  muhajreen  (refugees)  and  do  not  originally 
belong  to  Pakistan.” 

He  did  not  spare  Qaid-e-Azam.  “  Mr.  Jinnah,  as  the 
Governor-General  of  Pakistan,  is  not  a  representative  of 
the  Muslim  nation.  He  was  appointed  by  the  British 
King  and  as  such  he  is  responsible  to  him  and  not  to  the 
nation. 

“  I  now  take  this  opportunity  to  bring  home  to  you 
that  Islamic  Law  or  the  Law  of  the  Quran,  as  you  call 
it,  for  which  you  have  been  crying  so  long  and  for  which 
your  dear  and  near  ones  have  laid  down  their  lives,  would 
never  be  enforced  in  Pakistan.” 

Rising  to  a  peroratioit,  he  concluded,  “  I  warn  you, 
my  Pathan  brothers,  that  you  are  partners  in  the  State  of 
Pakistan.  You  are  fully  entitled  to  a  one-fourth  share. 
It  is  up  to  you  now  to  rise  and  unite  and  pledge  to  achieve 
what  is  your  due.  Be  united  and  act  with  determination 
and  thus  demolish  the  sandy  walls  which  the  leaders  of 
Pakistan  have  built  around  you.  We  cannot  tolerate  the 
present  state  of  affairs  any  longer.  Gird  up  your  loins  and 
march  towards  your  cherished  goal  of  freedom  for  the 


EPILOGUE 


137 


Pathans,  who  have  already  made  heavy  sacrifices  and  suf¬ 
fered  untold  privations.  We  will  not  rest  content  till  we 
succeed  in  establishing  Pathanistan  —  rule  of  the  Pathans, 
by  the  Pathans  and  for  the  Pathans.” 

Three  days  later  he  was  arrested.  His  son  Abdul 
Wali  Khan  and  two  other  Red  Shirt  leaders  were  arrested 
with  him.  A  summary  trial  was  held  in  the  little  mud- 
plastered  rest-house  of  Banda  Baud  Shah  on  the  main 
road  to  Bannu.  He  was  charged  with  ‘  sedition  ’  and  ‘  in¬ 
tended  collaboration  with  the  hostile  Faqir  of  Ipi  ’.  The 
Deputy  Commissioner  of  Kohat,  who  was  holding  the  trial, 
asked  him  to  produce  his  defence.  But  beyond  saying  that 
he  was  not  guilty,  he  refused  to  defend  himself.  The 
Magistrate  then  asked  him  if  he  was  willing  to  furnish  a 
security  of  good  behaviour  for  three  years  as  required 
under  Section  40  of  Frontier  Crimes  Regulation.  But  the 
Khan  replied  that  “  he  had  never  given  such  securities  in 
the  past  and  would  not  do  so  now.”  The  minimum  punish¬ 
ment  of  three  years’  rigorous  imprisonment  with  hard 
labour  was  then  awarded  to  him. 

Immediately  after  Badshah  Khan’s  arrest,  the  North- 
W7est  Frontier  Province  Government  issued  a  com¬ 
munique  explaining  its  action.  After  stating  that  notwith¬ 
standing  the  fact  that  the  division  of  India  was  mutually 
agreed  to  by  the  Congress  and  the  Muslim  League,  Abdul 
Ghaffar  Khan  “  utterly  opposed  the  establishment  of 
Pakistan  ”,  the  communique  went  on  to  say  :  “  he  advised 
his  followers  not  to  take  part  in  the  Independence  celebra¬ 
tions  on  August  15  and  not  to  take  the  oath  of  allegiance 
to  the  new  State  of  Pakistan.  Accordingly,  his  brother’s 
Ministry  which  was  in  power  at  that  time  had  to  be  dis¬ 
missed  for  disloyalty  to  Pakistan . At  the  same  time, 

he  began  enlarging  his  sphere  of  activities  by  founding 
the  so-called  People’s  Party  by  rallying  together  all  old 

Congress  elements  in  Pakistan . After  his  second  visit 

to  Karachi,  Badshah  Khan  returned  to  the  province  with 
a  definite  and  clearly  laid  out  plot  to  create  disturbances 
in  the  N.  W.  F.  P.  to  synchronize  with  the  expected  and 
much-advertised  advance  of  the  Indian  Army  towards  the 


188 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Frontier  Province.  The  bombing  of  Garhi  Habibullah 

gave  further  impetus  to  Badshah  Khan . ” 

It  would  be  difficult  to  compress  more  untruth,  dis¬ 
tortion  and  misrepresentation  in  so  narrow  a  compass. 
Badshah  Khan  had  declared  his  acceptance  of  Pakistan  as 
early  as  September,  only  he  wanted  the  same  status  and 
rights  for  the  Pushtu-speaking  people  in  their  homeland, 
which  he  wanted  to  be  named  ‘Pathanistan’,  as  the  Sindhis 
had  in  Sindh,  the  Punjabis  in  the  Punjab  and  the  Bengalis 
in  Bengal.  The  allegation  that  he  did  not  take  the  oath  of 
allegiance  to  the  new  State  of  Pakistan,  and  advised  his 
followers  not  to  take  part  in  the  Independence  celebrations 
on  August  15,  even  if  true,  became  irrelevant  after  he  took 
the  oath  of  allegiance  in  Karachi  in  the  Constituent  As¬ 
sembly  and  made  an  unequivocal  declaration  of  his 
loyalty  in  its  truest  sense  to  the  Pakistan  State.  One  may 
ask  what  his  alleged  offence  had  to  do  with  “  his  brother’s 
Ministry  which  was  in  power  at  that  time  ”.  Has  it  not 
the  old,  familiar  ring  of  the  wolf  in  the  fable  accusing* 
the  lamb,  before  devouring  it,  of  muddying  his  spring  ? 
Again,  why  should  it  be  an  offence  to  enlarge  one’s 
sphere  of  activities  or  to  form  an  opposition  party, 
especially  when  that  was  pledged  to  non-violence  ?  To 
dub  the  opposition  as  “  Congress  elements  ”  is  merely  ta 
give  a  dog  a  bad  name  and  hang  him,  the  hackneyed  old 
way  without  even  the  merit  of  originality.  Where  is  the 
evidence  for  the  “plot  to  create  disturbances  ”  outside  the 
fevered  imagination  of  the  author  of  the  communique  ? 
If  there  was  a  plot  to  synchronize  his  (Badshah 
Khan’s)  alleged  activities  with  the  “  expected  and  much- 
advertised  advance  of  the  Indian  Army  towards  the 
Frontier  Province  ”,  well,  the  Pakistan  Government  must 
have  been  party  to  it  when  it  laid  down  the  time-table  for 
the  Constituent  Assembly  to  which  Badshah  Khan  had 
gone  to  take  the  oath  of  allegiance  and  from  which  he 
could  return  to  his  province  only  at  the  termination  of 
the  session  !  “  The  bombing  of  Garhi  Habibullah  ”  was, 
as  everybody  knows,  an  unintended  mistake  of  an 
I.  A.  F.  airman  due  to  foggy  weather,  for  which  India 


EPILOGUE 


189 


Government  promptly  expressed  .public  regret.  Under 
the  circumstances,  how  it  could  give  “  further  impetus  to 
Badshah  Khan  ”,  passes  one’s  comprehension. 

Badshah  Khan’s  own  statement  issued  on  16-5-1948 
ran  :  “I  am  constrained  to  note  that  despite  my  recent 
earnest  appeal  to  my  friends  of  the  rival  group,  through 
Press  and  platform,  they  have  not  viewed  sympathetically 
the  coming  into  being  of  the  People’s  Organization  —  but 
they  are  questioning  the  bona  fides  of  my  party  men  again 
and  again,  simply  because  at  one  time  they  happened  to 
owe  allegiance  to  the  Indian  National  Congress.  This  is 
all  the  more  unfortunate  when  the  organization,  in  its  main 
resolution,  has  implicitly  extended  its  hand  of  co-operation 
in  a  patriotic  spirit  to  the  Government  in  power.  The  cri¬ 
terion  of  loyalty  towards  the  State,  according  to  the  oppo¬ 
nents,  is  unconditional  surrender  to  the  one-party  rule.” 
It  is  taxing  too  much  the  credulity  of  the  world  to  be  told 
to  believe  that  this  man  whose  passion  in  life  was  to  wean 
his  people  from  violence,  which  he  considered  to  be  their 
bane,  and  who  had  performed  the  miracle  of  almost  con¬ 
verting  the  much-dreaded  Pathan  into  the  soldier  of  non¬ 
violence,  all  of  a  sudden  foreswore  his  faith.  It  is  incre¬ 
dible  that  this  man,  to  whose  transparent  sincerity  and 
truthfulness  Gandhiji,  after  testing  him  through  and 
through,  bore  testimony,  could  after  reiterating  his 
unadulterated  faith  in  non-violence  and  loyalty  to 
the  Pakistan  State  with  whose  best  interests  he 
had  publicly  identified  himself,  jettison  his  life-long 
principles.  The  writer  of  these  lines  has  known 
Badshah  Khan,  broken  bread  with  him,#  lived  with  him 
as  a  member  of  one  family  under  Gandhiji’s  wing.  There 
is  not  another  person  today  in  India  or  in  Pakistan  who 
embodies  Gandhiji’s  principles  of  Truth  and  Non-violence, 
his  deep  spirituality,  meaning  faith  in  and  utter  submis¬ 
sion  to  the  will  of  God  and  passion  for  service  of  His  crea¬ 
tures,  in  a  greater  measure  than  or  even  in  an  equal  mea¬ 
sure  with  Badshah  Khan.* 


*  So  Mahadev  Desai,  who  had  an  unequalled  intimate  knowledge 


190 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Thus  ended  and  was  consigned  to  the  limbo  of  might- 
have-beens —  only  for  the  time  being,  one  hopes,  one  of 
the  noblest  experiments  of  our  times.  It  held  out  rich 
promise,  and  Gandhiji  himself  had  fondly  hoped  it  might 
provide  a  ray  of  light  to  a  strife-weary  world  aching  for 
peace.  The  continued  incarceration  of  the  Khan  brothers 
constitutes  a  challenge  to  the  civilized  conscience  of  the 
world.  If  ever  there  was  a  case  of  martyred  innocence 
sanctified  by  devotion  to  the  highest  ideals,  it  is  theirs  — 
particularly  Badshah  Khan’s.  They  bear  enmity  towards 
none.  Badshah  Khan  has  no  axe  to  grind,  no  personal 
ambition  to  serve.  “  I  have  been  a  soldier  all  my  life  and 
I  would  like  to  die  one,”  were  his  words  with  which  he 
declined  the  Presidentship  of  the  Congress  in  1934.  He 
has  inured  himself  to  physical  hardships  as  a  matter  of 
voluntary  discipline.  During  journeys  he  carried  his  own 
kit,  travelled  third.  When  he  came  to  meet  Gandhiji  at 
Borsad  in  1931  for  the  first  time,  he  had  brought  with  him 
only  one  change  of  clothes,  no  bedding.  “  He  will  use  no 
conveyance  when  he  can  walk  out  the  distance,  he  will 
select  the  cheapest  means  of  transport  when  he  cannot 
do  without  it.  He  eschews  all  luxuries  and  lives  on  the 
simplest  fare.  He  commands  obedience  and  unflinching 
loyalty  because  he  himself  is  an  embodiment  of  those 
virtues.” *  * 

Whatever  political  differences  the  Khan  brothers  may 
have  with  the  Government  in  power,  their  integrity  is 
above  question.  I  remember  how,  after  Partition,  during 
my  last  stay  with  Gandhiji  in  December,  1947,  and  January, 
1948,  Badshah  Khan-  sent  word  to  Gandhiji  that  he  should 
not  worry  about  him  and  Dr.  Khan  Saheb  as  they  were 
deliberately  not  meeting  him  or  writing  to  him  in  order  to 

of  both  Gandhiji  and  Badshah  Khan,  writing  in  1934 : 

“  I  do  not  yet  know  one  who  is  greater  than  or  even  equal 
to  Khan  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan  in  the  transparent  purity  and  the 
ascetic  severity  of  his  life  combined  with  extreme  tenderness  of 
feeling  and  living  faith  in  God  ”. 

—  Mahadev  Desai :  The  Two  Servants  of  God 


*  Ibid. 


EPILOGUE 


191 


put  their  bona  tides  vis-a-vis  loyalty  to  the  Pakistan  State 
above  suspicion.  It  would  be  doing  them  cruel  wrong  to 
suspect  them  of  double-dealing  or  treachery.  They  are  in¬ 
capable  of  either.  They  love  their  country  and  people  with 
a  deep,  passionate  love.  Badshah  Khan  is  simple  and 
straight  as  a  die  and  by  nature  guileless  at  times  to  the 
point  of  embarrassment.  Such  a  person  can  never  be  an 
enemy  of  a  State  that  calls  itself  Islamic. 

It  is  well  with  the  Khan  brothers.  They  are 
of  the  stuff  of  which  heroes  and  martyrs  are  made. 
They  would  be  content  to  lay  down  their  lives 
for  the  cause  for  which  they  have  lived  to  the 
exclusion  of  all  else.  “  I  am  quite  certain  that  it  is  all 
God’s  doing.  He  kept  me  out  just  for  the  time  He  wanted 
to  use  me  outside.  Now  it  is  His  will  that  I  must  serve 
from  inside.  What  pleases  Him  pleases  me,”  Badshah 
Khan  had  remarked  in  1934  when  he  was  taken  away 
from  Wardha  under  a  warrant  of  arrest  by  the  then  Bom¬ 
bay  Government,  to  be  sentenced  to  three  years’  rigorous 
imprisonment.  I  am  sure  he  would  repeat  the  same  today. 
But  surely  a  better  use  could  be  found  for  such  ‘  Servants 
of  God  ’  than  to  immure  them  alive  behind  prison  walls. 

Would  that  India  had  a  servant  today  like  Badshah 
Khan  —  a  Godfearing,  selfless,  truth-loving  and  fearless 
crii  ic  —  to  reprove  the  powers  that  be  if  they  strayed  from 
the  right  path ;  a  man  of  sterling  character,  unim¬ 
peachable  integrity  and  Christlike  compassion  for  the 
downtrodden  masses  to  whose  emancipation  and  service 
every  breath  of  his  life  is  dedicated.  A  couple  of  persons 
of  that  type  in  either  Dominion  would  be  the  safest  gua¬ 
rantee  for  peace  and  amity  between  the  two  sister  Domi¬ 
nions  and  —  who  knows  —  therethrough  Asia  and  the 
world  ! 

This  is  not  to  say  that  he  has  no  faults  or  short¬ 
comings.  What  mortal  has  not  ?  I  have  already  adverted 
to  Gandhiji’s  comments  on  his  proneness  to  extreme  sus¬ 
picion  of  Englishmen’s  intentions.  We  are  what  circum¬ 
stances  make  us.  I  remember  how  in  1931,  after  the 


192 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Gandhi-Irwin  Pact,  Gandhiji  took  him  to  Sir  Ralph  Griffith. 
Badshah  Khan  was  unwilling  to  meet  the  higher  ups.  He 
was  a  plain,  simple  man,  he  said  ;  he  did  not  understand 
diplomacy.  Gandhiji  persuaded  him  to  go.  On  meeting  Sir 
Ralph  Griffith,  Badshah  Khan  told  him,  “  I  am  a  plain  man. 
I  like  a  straight  talk.  Do  not  try  to  be  diplomatic  with 
me.”  The  latter  replied,  “  Khan  Saheb,  politics  is  a  game 
with  its  chess-board  moves  and  countermoves.  I  check¬ 
mate  you.  You  checkmate  me  if  you  can.”  “  Then,  I  am 
not  the  man  for  you,”  replied  Badshah  Khan  and  rose  to 
go.  Sir  Ralph  Griffith  diplomatically  changed  the  note  and 
detained  him  and  the  interview  proceeded.  Years  after¬ 
wards  Badshah  Khan  narrated  the  sequel.  “  I  placed 
before  him  my  plan  (of  going  among  and  winning  the 
hearts  of  tribesmen  by  loving  service).  But  instead  of  con¬ 
sidering  it,  he  put  me  into  prison.”  He  is  hyper-sensitive 
and  at  times  irritable.  He  is  plainspoken  and  blunt  to  a 
fault,  and  when  his  righteous  indignation  is  aroused,  he 
pours  forth  speech  like  molten  lava,  which  burns  and 
sears  the  hidden  lie  in  the  soul.  But  the  indignation  is 
directed  against  the  evil,  never  the  evil-doer.  All 
the  same,  it  is  a  handicap  in  terms  of  Satyagraha,  for 
it  is  an  axiom  in  Satyagraha  that  Truth  should  never 
sound  harsh  when  it  proceeds  from  the  fulness  of  love. 
Similarly,  some  other  weaknesses  could  be  enumerated. 
God  rectifies  the  mistakes  of  His  devoted  servants  but  He 
never  overlooks.  The  law  of  non-violence  is  inexorable,  and 
any  amateurishness  in  handling  it  may  result  in  failure 
in  terms  of  the  immediate  objective.  The  failure  so  called 
in  that  case  would  not  be  that  of  non-violence,  but  of  the 
imperfect  medium  through  which  it  was  sought  to  be 
expressed.  Instead'  of  weakening  one’s  faith  or  causing 
one  to  give  way  to  despondency,  it  should  make  the  votary 
of  non-violence  seek  all  the  more  God’s  grace  without 
which  man  is  nought. 

“  For  more  is  not  reserved 
To  man  with  soul  just  nerved 
To  act  tomorrow  what  he  learns  today  ; 
Here,  work  enough  to  watch 


Facsimile  of  a  letter  in  Badshah  Khan’s  own  hand 
from  prison  in  reply  to  the  invitation  to  attend  the  World 
Pacifist  Conference  at  Santiniketan  and  Sevagram  in 
December,  1949. 


ajerssB  »w!  *4S$feasc  «aa  oi  as?  ssfe*? 

nr  . .  ■ 

-***#-*•  r  /  uffafa 


«As>* 


Translation  of  Urdu  Writing 

My  dear  Hiralalji, 

Your  letter  of  November  15,  1949,  reached  me  on  December  8, 
1949.  Thanks. 

Perhaps  you  do  not  know  that  I  am  in  prison  and  am  unable 
to  participate  in  your  conference. 

I  am  wholly  with  you  in  the  noble  work  which  you  have 
begun  for  the  good  of  mankind  and  pray  that  the  Almighty  may 
grant  you  success  in  your  sacred  mission. 

29-12-’49 


Sd. 


Abdul  (lhaftar 

(Prisoner) 


EPILOGUE 


193 


The  master  work,  and  catch 
Hints  of  the  proper  craft,  tricks  of  the  tool's 
true  play.” 

Following  upon  Badshah  Khan’s  incarceration  the 
rank  and  file  of  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  were  subjected 
to  a  series  of  reprisals.  The  biggest  came  on  August  12, 
1948,  a  date  that  will  live  long  in  the  history  of  the  Red 
Shirt  movement  in  the  N.  W.  F.  Province.  On  that  day 
the  police  opened  fire  on  a  gathering  of  Red  Shirts  assem¬ 
bled  for  a  demonstration  in  Babra  village  in  Charsadda 
Tahsil,  converting  the  maidan  in  front  of  that  village  into 
a  bloody  shambles.  The  number  of  casualties  officially 
given  out  were  fifteen  killed  and  fifty  injured.  But  ac¬ 
cording  numerous  reports  that  came  through  later  they 
must  have  run  into  hundreds.  One  eye-witness  swore  on 
the  Quran  that  there  were  two  thousand  deaths.  One  of 
the  biggest  graveyards  in  that  area  is  said  to  be  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  that  village  today. 

After  the  massacre  there  was  a  man  hunt  of  Red 
Shirts  in  which  the  military  “  who  had  been  asked  to 
stand  by  ”  took  part.  If  even  a  fraction  of  what  the  rank 
and  file  of  the  Red  Shirts  are  said  to  have  passed  through 
during  that  man  hunt  and  since  is  correct,  theirs  has 
been  a  hard  ordeal  indeed.  On  them  rests  a  heavy  res¬ 
ponsibility.  Immured  behind  prison  walls,  their  chief 
continues  to  bear  witness  to  his  unquenchable  faith  in  a 
free  and  united  Pukhtoon  people,  weaned  from  their  tradi¬ 
tion  of  violence  and  raiding  habit,  one  day  setting  an 
example  of  bravery  of  the  bravest  of  the  brave  to  the 
whole  world  —  a  dream  which  he  and  Gandhi ji  dreamt 
together  and  for  which  they  had  jointly  laboured.  Let 
the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  in  their  hour  of  trial  remember 
and  draw  solace  and  strength  from  Gandhi ji’s  prophetic 
words  : 

“  If  in  the  last  heat  the  Khudai  Khidmatgars  prove 
untrue  to  the  creed  they  profess  to  believe,  non-violence 
was  certainly  not  in  their  hearts.  The  proof  will  soon 
come.  If  they  zealously  and  faithfully  follow  the  con- 


P-13 


194 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


structive  programme,  there  is  no  danger.  They  will  be 
found  among  the  bravest  men  when  the  test  comes. 

“  Non-violence  does  not  depend  on  anybody’s  suffer- 
ence.  It  is  its  own  seal  and.  sanction.  It  conquers  through 
innocent  suffering  and  what  may  look  like  defeat.  It  never 
fails.” 


APPENDIX 


QUINTESSENCE  OF  SATYAGRAHA 


/ 


» 


/ 


# 


APPENDIX 


The  following  cullings  made  by  the  author  from  Gandhiji's 
writings  give  in  a  connected  form  a  complete  outline  of  the  Science 
of  Satyagraha  in  theory  and  practice  which  Gandhiji  expounded  to 
the  warlike  Pathans  : — 

I 

PREFATORY 

.Rights  and  Duties 

1.  I  learned  from  my  illiterate  but  wise  mother  that 
all  rights  to  be  deserved  and  preserved  came  from  duty 
well  done.  Thus  the  very  right  to  live  accrues  to  us  only 
when  we  do  the  duty  of  the  citizenship  of  the  world.  From 
this  one  fundamental  statement  perhaps  it  is  easy  enough 
to  define  the  duties  of  Man  and  Woman  and  correlate 
every  right  to  some  corresponding  duty  to  be  first  per¬ 
formed.  Every  other  right  can  be  shown  to  be  a  usurpa¬ 
tion  hardly  worth  fighting  for. 

2.  Every  man  has  an  equal  right  to  the  necessaries 
of  life  even  as  birds  and  beasts  have.  And  since  every 
right  carries  with  it  a  corresponding  duty  and  the  corres¬ 
ponding  remedy  for  resisting  an  attack  upon  it,  it  is  merely 
a  matter  of  finding  out  the  corresponding  duties  and 
remedies  to  vindicate  the  elementary  equality.  The  corres¬ 
ponding  duty  is  to  labour  with  my  limbs  and  the  corres¬ 
ponding  remedy  is  to  non-co-operate  with  him  who 
deprives  me  of  the  fruit  of  my  labour. 

Ahimsa  —  The  Supreme  Duty 

3.  Ahimsa  is  the  means  ;  Truth  is  the  end.  Means 
to  be  means  must  always  be  within  our  reach,  and  so 
ahimsa  is  our  supreme  duty. 


197 


198 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


II 

AHIMSA  —  ITS  NATURE 

Ahimsa  (Non-violence)  —  A  Positive  Virtue 

4.  In  its  positive  form  ahimsa  means  the  largest  love, 
the  greatest  charity.  If  I  am  a  follower  of  ahimsa,  I  must 
love  my  enemy.  I  must  apply  the  same  rules  to  the 
wrong-doer  who  is  my  enemy  or  a  stranger  to  me,  as  I 
would  to  my  wrong-doing  father  or  son.  This  active 
ahimsa  necessarily  includes  truth  and  fearlessness.  As 
man  cannot  deceive  the  loved  one,  he  does  not  fear  or 
frighten  him  or  her.  Gift  of  life  is  the  greatest  of  all  * 
gifts  ;  a  man  who  gives  it  in  reality,  disarms  all  hostility. 
He  has  paved  the  way  for  an  honourable  understanding. 
And  none  who  is  himself  subject  to  fear  can  bestow  that 
gifh  He  must  therefore  be  himself  fearless.  A  man  can¬ 
not  then  practise  ahimsa  and  be  a  coward  at  the  same  time. 
The  practice  of  ahimsa  calls  forth  the  greatest  courage. 

Power  of  Non-violence 

5.  With  Satya  combined  with  Ahimsa,  you  can 
bring  the  world  to  your  feet. 

6.  Ahimsa,  truly  understood,  is  panacea  for  all  evils 
mundane  and  extramundane. 

7.  Non-violence  in  its  dynamic  condition  does  not 
mean  meek  submission  to  the  will  of  the  evil-doer,  but  it 
means  the  pitting  of  one’s  .whole  soul  against  the  will  of 
the  tyrant.  Working  under  this  law  of  our  being,  it  is 
possible  for  a  single  individual  to  defy  the  whole  might 
of  an  unjust  empire  to  save  his  honour,  his  religion,  his 
soul  and  lay  the  foundation  for  that  empire’s  fall  or  its 
regeneration. 

8.  It  is  a  profound  error  to  suppose  that  whilst  the 
law  is  good  enough  for  individuals,  it  is  not  for  masses 
of  mankind. 

9.  It  is  the  acid  test  of  nonwiolence  that  in  a  non¬ 
violent  conflict  there  is  no  rancour  left  behind,  and  in  the 
end  the  enemies  are  converted  into  friends. 


APPENDIX 


199 


Non-violence  in  Individual  and  Collective  Life 

10.  I  hold  that  non-violence  is  not  merely  a  personal 
virtue.  It  is  also  a  social  virtue  to  be  cultivated  like  the 
other  virtues.  Surely  society  is  largely  regulated  by  the 
expression  of  non-violence  in  its  mutual  dealings.  What 
I  ask  for  is  an  extension  of  it  on  a  larger,  national  and  in¬ 
ternational  scale. 

Non-violence  —  the  Law  of  the  Human  Race 

11.  Non-violence  is  the  law  of  the  human  race  and 
is  infinitely  greater  than  and  superior  to  brute  force. 

12.  The  only  condition  of  a  successful  use  of  this 
force  is  a  recognition  of  the  existence  of  the  soul  as  apart 
from  the  body  and  its  permanent  nature.  And  this  recog¬ 
nition  must  amount  to  a  living  faith  and  not  mere  intel¬ 
lectual  grasp. 

13.  In  the  last  resort  it  does  not  avail  to  those  who 
do  not  possess  a  living  faith  in  the  God  of  Love. 

14.  Non-violence  affords  the  fullest  protection  to 
one's  self-respect  and  sense  of  honour,  but  not  always  to 
possession  of  land  or  movable  property,  though  its  habitu¬ 
al  practice  does  prove  a  better  bulwark  than  the  possession 
of  armed  men  to  defend  them.  Non-violence  in  the  very 
nature  of  things  is  of  no  assistance  in  the  defence  of  ill- 
gotten  gains  and  immoral  acts. 

15.  Individuals  and  nations  who  would  practise  non¬ 
violence  must  be  prepared  to  sacrifice  (nations  to  the  last 
man)  their  all  except  honour.  It  is  therefore  inconsistent 
with  the  possession  of  other  people’s  countris,  i.  e.,  modern 
imperialism  which  is  frankly  based  on  force  for  its  defence. 

16.  Non-violence  is  a  power  which  can  be  wielded 
equally  by  all  —  children,  young  men  and  women  or 
grown  up  people,  provided  they  have  a  living  faith  in  the 
God  of  Love  and  have  therefore  equal  love  for  all  man¬ 
kind.  When  non-violence  is  accepted  as  the  law  of  life 
It  must  .pervade  the  whole  being  and  not  be  applied  to 
isolated  acts. 

Non-violence  and  Politics  —  Basic  principle 

17.  I  could  not  be  leading  a  religious  life  unless  I 
identified  myself  with  the  whole  of  mankind,  and  that  I 


200 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


could  not  do  unless  I  took  part  in  politics.  The  whole 
gamut  of  man’s  activities  today  constitutes  an  indivisible 
whole.  You  cannot  divide  social,  economic,  political  and 
purely  religious  work  into  watertight  compartments.  I 
do  not  know  any  religion  apart  from  human  activity. 

18.  No  man  could  be  actively  non-violent  and  not 
rise  against  social  injustice  no  matter  where  it  occurred. 

19.  To  practise  non-violence  in  mundane  matters 
is  to  know  its  true  value.  It  is  to  bring  heaven  upon  earth. 
There  is  no  such  thing  as  the  other  world.  All  worlds 
are  one.  I  hold  it  therefore  to  be  wrong  to  limit  the  use 
of  non-violence  to  cave-dwellers  and  for  acquiring  merit 
for  a  favoured  position  in  the  other  world.  All  virtue 
ceases  to  have  use  if  it  serves  no  purpose  in  every  walk 
of  life. 

Non-violence  —  Virtue  of  the  Strong 

20.  I  do  believe  that  where  there  is  only  a  choice 
between  cowardice  and  violence,  I  would  advise  violence. 

21.  My  creed  of  non-violence  is  an  extremely  active 
force.  It  has  no  room  for  cowardice  or  even  weakness. 
There  is  hope  for  a  violent  man  to  be  some  day  non-vio¬ 
lent,  but  there  is  none  for  a  coward. 

22.  Non-violence  presupposes  ability  to  strike.  It  is 
a  conscious,  deliberate  restraint  put  upon  one’s  desire  for 
vengeance.  But  vengeance  is  any  day  superior  to  passive, 
effeminate  and  helpless  submission.  Forgiveness  is  high¬ 
er  still. 

23.  Forgiveness  is  more  manly  than  punishment. 
Forgiveness  adorns  the  soldier.  But  abstinence  is  forgive¬ 
ness  only  when  there  is  the  power  to  punish ;  it  is; 
meaningless  when  it  pretends  to  proceed  from  a  helpless- 
creature. 

24.  Non-violence  is  without  exception  superior  to 
violence,  i.  e.,  the  power  at  the  disposal  of  a  non-violent 
person  is  always  greater  than  he  would  have  if  he  were 
violent. 

25.  Man  for  man,  the  strength  of  non-violence  is  in 
exact  proportion  to  the  ability,  not  the  will,  of  the  non¬ 
violent  person  to  inflict  violence. 


APPENDIX 


201 


III 

SOUL  FORCE  IN  ACTION 

Satyagraha  or  Soul  Force  —  The  Law  of  Truth 

26.  The  term  Satyagraha  was  coined  by  me  in 
South  Africa  to  express  the  force  that  the  Indians  there 
used  for  full  eight  years.  Its  root  meaning  is  holding  on 
to  Truth.  I  have  also  called  it  Love-force  or  Soul-force. 

27.  In  the  application  of  Satyagraha,  I  discovered 
in  the  earliest  stages  that  pursuit  of  Truth  did  not  admit 
of  violence  being  inflicted  on  one's  opponent. 

28.  For  what  appears  to  be  Truth  to  the  one  may 
appear  to  be  error  to  the  other.  And  patience  means  self- 
suffering.  So  the  doctrine  came  to  mean  vindication  of 
Truth,  not  by  infliction  of  suffering  on  the  opponent,  but 
on  one’s  self. 

29.  But  on  the  political  field,  the  struggle  on  behalf 
of  the  people  mostly  consists  in  opposing  error  in  the 
shape  of  unjust  laws.  When  you  have  failed  to  bring 
the  error  home  to  the  law-giver  by  way  of  petitions  and 
the  like,  the  only  remedy  open  to  you,  if  you  do  not  wish 
to  submit  to  error,  is  to  compel  him  by  physical  force  to 
yield  to  you  or  by  suffering  in  your  own  person  by  invit¬ 
ing  the  penalty  for  the  breach  of  the  law.  Hence  Satya¬ 
graha  appears  to  the  public  as  Civil  Disobedience  or  Civil 
Resistance.  It  is  civil  in  the  sense  that  it  is  not  criminal. 
Satyagraha  as  Direct  Action  —  How  it  Works 

30.  It  is  a  force  that  works  silently  and  apparently 
slowly.  In  reality,  there  is  no  force  in  the  world  that  is 
so  direct  or  so  swift  in  working. 

31.  The  hardest  heart  and  the  grossest  ignorance 
must  disappear  before  the  rising  sun  of  suffering  without 
anger  and  without  malice. 

32.  And  when  once  it  is  set  in  motion,  its  effect,  if 
it  is  intensive  enough,  can  overtake  the  whole  universe. 
It  is  the  greatest  force  because  it  is  the  highest  expression 
of  the  soul. 

33.  Since  Satyagraha  is  one  of  the  most  powerful 
methods  of  direct  action,  a  satyagrahi  exhausts  all  other 


202 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


means  before  he  resorts  to  Satyagraha.  He  will  therefore 
constantly  and  continually  approach  the  constituted 
authority,  he  will  appeal  to  public  opinion,  educate  public 
opinion,  state  his  case  calmly  and  coolly  before  everybody 
who  wants  to  listen  to  him,  and  only  after  he  has  exhaust¬ 
ed  all  these  avenues  will  he  resort  to  Satyagraha.  But 
when  he  has  found  the  impelling  call  of  the  inner  voice 
within  him  and  launches  out  upon  Satyagraha  he  has 
burnt  his  boats  and  there  is  no  receding. 

Ten  Commandments  of  Satyagraha 

34.  Satyagraha  is  utter  self-effacement,  greatest 
humility,  greatest  patience  and  brightest  faith.  It  is  its 
own  reward. 

35.  As  a  satyagrahi  I  must  always  allow  my  cards 
to  be  examined  and  re-examined  at  all  times  and  make 
reparation  if  any  error  is  discovered. 

36.  Satyagraha  is  gentle,  it  never  wounds.  It  must 
not.  be  the  result  of  anger  or  malice.  (  It  is  never  fussy, 
never  impatient,  never  vociferous.  It  is  the  direct  oppo¬ 
site  of  compulsion. 

37.  A  satyagrahi  may  not  even  ascend  to  heaven 
on  the  wings  of  Satan. 

38.  He  must  believe  in  truth  and  non-violence  as  his 
■creed  and  therefore  have  faith  in  the  inherent  goodness 
■of  human  nature  which  he  expects  to  evoke  by  his  truth 
and  love  expressed  through  his  suffering. 

39.  A  satyagrahi  never  misses,  can  never  miss,  a 
■chance  of  compromise  on  honourable  terms,  it  being 
always  assumed  that  in  the  event  of  failure  he  is  ever 
ready  to  offer  battle.  He  needs  no  previous  preparation  ; 
his  cards  are  always  on  the  table. 

40.  A  satyagrahi  bids  goodbye  to  fear.  He  is,  there¬ 
fore,  never  afraid  of  trusting  the  opponent.  Even  if  the 
opponent  plays  him  false  twenty  times,  the  satyagrahi 
is  ready  to  trust  him  the  twenty-first  time,  for  an  implicit 
trust  in  human  nature  is  the  very  essence  of  his  creed. 

41.  It  is  never  the  intention  of  'a  satyagrahi  to  em¬ 
barrass  the  wrong-doer.  The  appeal  is  never  to  his  fear  ; 


i 


APPENDIX 


203 


it  is,  must  be,  always  to  his  heart.  The  satyagrahi’s  object 
is  to  convert,  not  to  coerce,  the  wrong-doer.  He  should 
avoid  artificiality  in  all  his  doings.  He  acts  naturally  and 
from  inward  conviction. 

42.  The  very  nature  of  the  science  of  Satyagraha 
precludes  the  student  from  seeing  more  than  the  step 
immediately  in  front  of  him. 

43.  A  satyagrahi  must  never  forget  the  distinction 
between  evil  and  the  evil-doer.  He  must  not  harbour  ill- 
will  or  bitterness  against  the  latter.  He  may  not  even 
employ  needlessly  offensive  language  against  the  evil 
person,  however  unrelieved  his  evil  might  be.  For  it  is 
an  article  of  faith  with  every  satyagrahi  that  there  is  no 
one  so  fallen  in  this  world  but  can  be  converted  by  love. 
A  satyagrahi  will  always  try  to  overcome  evil  by  good, 
anger  by  love,  untruth  by  truth,  himsa  by  ahimsa.  There 
is  no  other  way  of  purging  the  world  of  evil. 

Weapon  of  Non-co-operation 

44.  Non-co-operation  with  evil  is  as  much  a  duty  as 
co-operation  with  good. 

45.  When  we  are  firmly  of  opinion  that  grave  wrong 
has  been  done  to  us  and  when  after  an  appeal  to  the 
highest  authority  we  fail  to  secure  redress,  there  must  be 
some  power  available  to  us  for  undoing  the  wrong. 

46.  We  must  refuse  to  wait  for  the  wrong  to  be 
righted  till  the  wrong-doer  has  been  roused  to  a  sense  of 
his  iniquity.  But  we  must  combat  the  wrong  by  ceasing 
to  assist  the  wrong-doer  directly  or  indirectly. 

47.  The  business  of  every  God-fearing  man  is  to 
dissociate  himself  from  evil  in  total  disregard  of  conse¬ 
quences. 

48.  Non-co-operation  predominantly  implies  with¬ 
drawing  of  co-operation  from  the  State  that  in  the 
non-co-operator’s  view  has  become  corrupt,  and  excludes 
Civil  Disobedience  of  the  fierce  type.  By  its  very  nature, 
non-co-operation  is  even  open  to  children  of  understanding 
and  can  be  safely  practised  by  the  masses.  Non-co-opera¬ 
tion  too,  like  Civil  Disobedience,  is  a  branch  of  Satyagraha 


204 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


which  includes  all  non-violent  resistance  for  the  vindi¬ 
cation  of  Truth.  Non-co-operation  in  itself  is  more  harm¬ 
less  than  Civil  Disobedience  but  in  its  effect  it  is  far  more 
dangerous  for  the  Government  than  Civil  Disobedience. 
Non-co-operation  is  intended  so  far  to  paralyse  the  Gov¬ 
ernment  as  to  compel  justice  from  it.  If  it  is  carried  to 
the  extreme  point,  it  can  bring  the  Government  to  a 
standstill. 

49.  Non-co-operation  is  not  a  passive  state,  it  is  an 
intensely  active  state.  Passive  resistance  is  a  misnomer. 

50.  My  non-co-operation  is  with  methods  and  sys¬ 
tems,  never  with  men. 

51.  Behind  my  non-co-o^ration  there  is  always  the 
keenest  desire  to  co-operate  on  the  slightest  pretext  even 
with  the  >vorst  of  opponents.  To  me,  a  very  imperfect 
/mortal,  ever  in  need  of  God’s  grace,  no  one  is  beyond 
redemption. 

Civil  Disobedience  —  A  Constitutional  Weapon 

52.  Civil  Disobedience  is  civil  breach  of  unmoral 
statutory  enactments.  The  expression  was,  so  far  as  I  am 
aware,  coined  by  Thoreau.  Civil  Disobedience  is  not  a 
state  of  lawlessness  and  licence,  but  presupposes  a  law- 
abiding  spirit  combined  with  self-restraint.  Satvagraha 
consists  at  times  in  Civil  Disobedience  and  other  times  in 
Civil  Obedience. 

53.  Nor  is  it  necessary  for  voluntary  obedience  that 
the  laws  to  be  observed  must  be  good.  There  are  many 
unjust  laws  which  a  good  citizen  obeys  so  long  as  they 
do  not  hurt  his  self-respect  or  the  moral  being. 

54.  A  Government  that  is  evil  has  no  room  for  good 
men  and  women  except  in  its  prisons.  As  no  government 
in  the  world  can  possibly  put  a  whole  nation  in  prison, 
it  must  yield  to  its  demand  or  abdicate  in  favour  of  a 
government  suited  to  that  nation. 

55.  Disobedience  to  the  law  of  the  State  becomes  a 
peremptory  duty  when  it  comes  in  conflict  with  the  law 
of  God. 

56.  A  satyagrahi  is  nothing  if  not  instinctively  law- 
abiding,  and  it  is  his  law-abiding  nature  which  exacts 


APPENDIX 


205 


from  him  implicit  obedience  to  the  highest  law,  that  is, 
the  voice  of  conscience  which  overrides  all  other  laws. 

57.  A  satyagrahi  sometimes  appears  momentarily  to 
disobey  laws  and  the  constituted  authority  only  to  prove 
in  the  end  his  regard  for  both. 

58.  Civil  Disobedience  is  the  purest  type  of  consti¬ 
tutional  agitation.  Of  course,  it  becomes  degrading  and 
despicable  if  its  civil,  i.  e.,  non-violent  character  is  a  mere 
camouflage. 

Civil  Disobedience  —  Inherent  Right  of  a  Citizen 

59.  Civil  Disobedience  is  the  inherent  right  of  a 
citizen.  He  dare  not  give  it  up  without  ceasing  to  be  a 
man.  Civil  Disobedience  is  never  followed  by  anarchy. 
Criminal  Disobedience  can  lead  to  it.  Every  State  puts 
down  Criminal  Disobedience  by  force.  It  perishes  if  it 
does  not.  But  to  put  down  Civil  Disobedience  is  to  at¬ 
tempt  to  imprison  conscience. 

60.  Complete  Civil  Disobedience  is  rebellion  without 
the  element  of  violence  in  it.  An  out  and  out  civil  resister 
simply  ignores  the  authority  of  the  State.  He  becomes 
an  outlaw  claiming  to  disregard  every  unmoral  State  law 

. Submission  to  the  State  law  is  the  price  a  citizen 

pays  for  his  personal  liberty.  Submission  therefore  to  a 
State  law  wholly  or  largely  unjust  is  an  immoral  barter 
for  liberty.  A  citizen  who  thus  realizes  the  evil  nature  of 
a  State  is  not  satisfied  to  live  on  its  sufferance  and  there¬ 
fore,  . he  invites  imprisonment  and  other  uses  of 

force  against  himself.  This  he  does  because  and  when  he 
finds  the  bodily  freedom  he  seemingly  enjoys  to  be  an 
intolerable  burden . Thus  considered,  Civil  Resist¬ 

ance  is  a  most  powerful  expression  of  a  soul’s  anguish 
and  an  eloquent  protest  against  the  continuance  of  an 
evil  State.  • 

Requisites  of  Civil  Disobedience  —  Discipline,  Non-vio¬ 
lence,  Truth,  Justice  and  Purity 

61.  A  born  democrat  is  a  born  disciplinarian. 
Democracy  comes  naturally  to  him  who  is  habituated, 
normally  to  yield  willing  obedience  to  all  laws,  human  or 
divine.  I  claim  to  be  a  democrat  both  by  instinct  and 


206 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


training.  Let  those  who  are  ambitious  to  serve  democracy 
qualify  themselves  by  satisfying  first  this  acid  test  of 
democracy.  A  democrat  must  be  utterly  selfless.  He 
must  think  and  dream  not  in  terms  of  self  or  party  but 
only  of  democracy.  Only  then  does  he  acquire  the  right 
of  Civil  Disobedience. 

62.  Disobedience  to  be  civil  must  be  sincere,  respect¬ 
ful,  restrained,  never  defiant ;  must  be  based  upon  some 
well  understood  principle  ;  must  not  be  capricious  and 
above  all,  must  have  no  ill-will  or  hatred  behind  it. 

63.  For  my  movement  I  do  not  need  believers  in 
the  theory  of  non-violence,  full  or  imperfect.  It  is  enough 
if  people  carry  out  the  rules  of  non-violent  action. 

64.  The  first  indispensable  condition  precedent  to 
any  Civil  Resistance  is  that  there  should  be  surety  against 
any  outbreak  of  violence  whether  on  the  part  of  those 
who  are  identified  with  Civil  Resistance  or  on  the  part  of 
the  general  public.  It  would  be  no  answer  in  the  case  of 
an  outbreak  of  violence  that  it  was  instigated  by  the  State 
or  other  agencies  hostile  to  civil  resisters.  It  should  be 
obvious  that  Civil  Resistance  cannot  flourish  in  an  atmos¬ 
phere  of  violence.  This  does  not  mean  that  the  resources 
of  a  satyagrahi  have  come  to  an  end.  Ways  other  than 
Civil  Disobedience  should  be  found  out. 

65.  The  beauty  of  Satyagraha,  of  which  non-co- 
operation  is  but  a  chapter,  is  that  it  is  available  to  either 
side  in  a  fight ;  that  it  has  checks  that  automatically  work 
for  the  vindication  of  truth  and  justice  in  preponderating 
measure.  It  is  as  powerful  and  faithful  a  weapon  in  the 
hand  of  the  capitalist  as  in  that  of  the  labourer.  It  is  as 
powerful  in  the  hands  of  the  Government  as  in  that  of  the 
people,  and  will  bring  victory  to  the  Government,  if  people 
are  misguided  cfr  unjust,  as  it  will  win  the  battle  for  the 
people  if  the  Government  be  in  the  wrong. 

66.  In  Satyagraha  it  is  never  the  numbers  that 
count ;  it  is  always  the  quality,  more  so  when  the  forces 
of  violence  are  uppermost. 

67.  Indeed  one  PERFECT  civil  resister  is  enough  to 
win  the  battle  of  Right  against  Wrong. 


REFERENCES 


1.  Letter  to  Dr.  Julian  Huxley. 

2.  Young  India,  26-3-’31,  p.  49. 

3.  From  Yeravda  Mandir,  p.  13. 

4.  G.  A.  Natesan  &  Co.,  Speeches  and  Writings  of  Mahatma  Gandhi, 

p.  346. 

5.  Young  India,  10-3-’20,  p.  3. 

6.  G.  A.  Natesan  &  Co.,  Speeches  and  Writings  of  Mahatma  Gandhi, 

pp.  346-347. 

7.  Young  India,  ll-8-’20,  p.  3. 

8.  Harijan,  5-9-’36,  p.  237. 

9.  Harijan,  ll-12-’38,  p.  327. 

10.  Harijan,  7-l-’39,  p.  417. 

11.  Harijan,  5-9-’36,  p.  236. 

12.  Address  to  Europeans  at  Germiston  (Transvaal)  1908. 

13.  Harijan,  5-9-’36,  p.  236. 

14.  Ibid. 

15.  Ibid. 

16.  Ibid. 

17.  Harijan,  24-12-’38,  p.  393. 

18.  Harijan,  20-4-’40,  p.  97. 

19.  Harijan,  26-7-’42,  p.  248. 

20.  Young  India,  ll-8-’20,  p.  3. 

21.  Young  India,  16-6-’27,  p.  196. 

22.  Young  India,  12-8-’26,  p.  285. 

23.  Young  India,  ll-8-’20,  p.3. 

24.  Harijan,  12-10-’35,  p.  276. 

25.  Ibid. 

26.  Young  India,  14-l-’20,  p.  5. 

27.  Ibid. 

28.  Ibid. 

29.  Ibid. 

30.  Young  India,  4-6-’25,  p.  189. 

31.  Young  India,  10-2-’25,  p.  61. 

32.  Young  India,  23-9-’26,  p.  332. 

33.  Young  India,  20-10-’27,  p.  353. 

34.  Young  India,  26-2-’25,  p.  -73. 

35.  Harijan,  15-4-’33,  p.  8. 

36.  Ibid. 

37.  Harijan,  15-4-’39,  p.  86. 

38.  Harijan,  25-3-’39,  p.  64.  '  1 


207 


208 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


39.  Young  India,  16-4-’31,  p.  77. 

40.  M.  K.  Gandhi :  Satyagraha  in  South  Africa,  p.  246. 

41.  Harijan,  25-3-’39,  p.  64. 

42.  Cited  by  Roy  Walker :  The  Wisdom  of  Gandhi,  p.  20. 

43.  Young  India,  8-8-’29,  p.  263. 

44.  Young  India,  23-3-’22,  p.  168. 

45.  Young  India,  9-6-’20,  p.  3. 

46.  Young  India,  16-6-’20,  p.  4. 

47.  Cited  by  Walker,  op.  cit.,  p.  40. 

48.  Young  India,  21-3-’21,  p.  90  and  28-7-’20,  p.  2. 

49.  Yong  India,  25-8-’20,  p.  2. 

-50.  Young  India,  12-9-’29,  p.  300. 

51.  Young  India,  4-6-’25,  p.  193. 

52.  Young  India,  23-3-’21,  p.  90  and  Walker,  op.  cit.,  p.  44. 

53.  Cited  by  Walker,  op.  cit.,  p.  44. 

54.  Young  India,  22-9-’21,  p.  303  and  l-9-’20,  p.  575. 

55.  Ethical  Religion,  p.  45. 

56.  Cited  by  Walker,  op.  cit.,  p.  44. 

57.  Natesan’s  collection,  p.  302. 

58.  Young  India,  15-12-’21,  p.  419. 

59.  Young  India,  5-l-’22,  p.  5. 

60.  Young  India,  10-11-’21,  pp.  361-62. 

61.  Harijan,  27-5-’39,  p.  136. 

62.  Young  India,  24-3-’20,  p.  4. 

63.  Gandhiji’s  Correspondence  with  Government,  p.  169. 

64.  Harijan,  18-3-’39,  p.  53. 

65.  Young  India,  23-6-’20,  p.  5.* 

66.  Harijan,  25-3-’39,  p.  64. 

67.  Young  India,  10-11-’21,  p.  362. 

*  Though  attributed  to  Gandhiji  in  some  collections  of  his 
writings,  obviously  the  quotation  is  someone  else’s  but  was  published 
in  Young  India  with  his  sanction  and  approval. 


INDEX 


[KK  and  NWFP  are  used  as  short  forms  of  Khudai  Khidmatgar 
and  North-West  Frontier  Province  in  the  index.] 


Abbottabad,  address  to  Gandhi  ji, 
136-37  ;  its  past  associations,  128  ; 
minorities’  deputation  to  Gan- 
dhiji,  133 ;  public  meeting,  136 
Abdali,  Ahmed  Shah,  his  Durrani 
kingdom,  17-18 

Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan,  31,  47 ;  his 
early  career*,  31 ;  and  his  KKs, 
49-50.  See  Badshah  Khan 
Abdul  Qayyum  Khan,  184 ;  de¬ 
nounces  Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan  as 
enemy  of  Pakistan,  185 
Abdul  Wadud  Badshah,  Syed, 
shoots  himself,  39 
Abdur  Rahman,  Amir,  24,  25 
Abdur  Rahman,  Baba,  9 
Abdus  Samad  Khan,  184 
Afghan  War,  First,  20  ;  Second,  21 
Afghanistan,  British  policy  towards, 
20,  21 

Afridis,  the,  7,  8 

Ahmadi  Banda  KKs  addressed  by 
Gandhiji,  116 
Ajab  Khan,  81,  82 
Akbar,  16 

Alexander  the  Great,  150,  152,  158, 
159 ;  and  Dandamis,  157-58  ;  de¬ 
fied,  160  ;  his  invasion  of  India, 
14,  155 ;  his  questions  to 

sannyasis,  156-57 

All-India  Spinners’  Association, 
some  facts  and  figures,  141-43 
Ambedkar,  Dr.  185 
Ambhi,  Governor  of  Taxila,  14 
Amtus  Salam,  Bibi,  161 
Andrews,  C.F.,  11,  25,  31 ;  his  ques¬ 
tion  of  questions,  45-46 ;  on  air 
bombing,  45 

Anger,  and  non-violence,  88 
Arrian,  148,  150,  151 
Arthashastra,  152-53 ;  its  solicitude 
for  working  women,  152 


Asoka,  his  edict  at  Kalinga,  15,  at 
Shahabazgarh,  153-54 ;  his  fron¬ 
tier  policy,  16 

Atlee’s  declaration  re  transfer  of 
power,  168 

Aurangzeb,  his  frontier  policy,  17 

Authoritarianism,  in  propagating 
religion  condemned  by  Asokan 
efflcts,  154 

Azad,  Abul  Kalam,  134 

Babra  village  firing  on  KKs,  193 

Badshah  Khan,  46,  52,  129 ;  a  hater 
of  politics,  129 ;  always  suspi¬ 
cious  of  Englishmen,  191 ;  and 
Afghanistan,  177 ;  and  Fakir 
of  Ipi,  176 ;  and  Gandhiji  confer, 
71-78 ;  and  non-violence,  40 ; 
arranges  Khattak  dance  for 
Gandhiji,  102 ;  arrested  by 
Pakistan  Govt.,  187  ;  arrested  for 
Bombay  speech,  39 ;  arrested  for 
starting  national  schools,  34 ; 
arrested  in  1942,  162 ;  as  inter¬ 
preter,  69,  123 ;  attends  Nagpur 
Congress,  34 ;  best  disciple  of 
Gandhiji,  189 ;  charged  with 
playing  game  of  Afghanistan, 
173 ;  charges  Caroe  with  intri¬ 
guing,  170 ;  compares  Pakistan 
with  India  Govt.,  185,  186 ;  de¬ 
clined  Congress  Presidentship, 
190 ;  deplores  communal  mad¬ 
ness,  164 ;  entertains  Gandhiji, 
79-80 ;  fond  of  humanitarian  ser¬ 
vice,  130;  Gandhiji  on,  122;  gives 
up  idea  of  going  to  England, 
32 ;  his  appeal  to  Muslim  League 
to  sit  in  jirga,  171,  to  Pathans 
for  Pathanistan,  186-87 ;  his  as¬ 
pirations  about  Pathans,  122 ; 
his  character  and  personality, 


209 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


189,  190-91 ;  his  choice  for  non¬ 
violence  made  in  1920,  138 ;  his 
comments  on  British  display  of 
arms  112 ;  his  criticism  of  Pak. 
Govt.,  186;  his  decision  to  ex¬ 
tend  KK  movement  to  all 
Pakistan,  184;  his  defence  and 
vindication  of  his  policy,  181-83 ; 
his  demand  for  Pathanistan, 
175 ;  his  failings,  191-92 ;  his 
faith  in  Gandhiji,  40-41,  in 
Hindu-Muslim  unity,  166,  in  ser¬ 
vice  and  non-violence,  42,  178 ; 
his  first  jail  experience  and 
release,  33 ;  his  first  meet¬ 
ing  with  Gandhiji,  36 ;  his 
first  speech  in  Pakistan  Par¬ 
liament,  178-79;  his  horror  for 
big  cities,  52 ;  his  idea  of  a  KK 
home  for  constructive  activities, 
73 ;  his  ideal  behaviour  in  jail, 
35 ;  his  interpretation  of  Islam, 


139  ;  his  interview  with  Bernays, 
42 ;  his  meeting  with  Qaid-e- 
Azam,  183  ;  his  mother,  32 ;  his 
question  to  Gandhiji  re  seeking 
legal  aid,  61 ;  his  reaction  to 
charge  of  helping  Hindus  with 
KKs  to  subdue  Muslims,  139 ; 
his  readiness  to  join  Pakistan, 
172 ;  his  regularity  in  Namaz, 
35 ;  his  reply  to  critics  of  Patha¬ 
nistan  not  being  self-sufficient, 
173,  to  Karachi  address,  163,  to 
minorities  at  Karachi,  181-83 ; 
his  sincerity,  164;  his  statement 
from  Karachi,  176,  from  Pesha¬ 
war,  of  1 6-5-’ 48,  189,  165,  in 

Young  India,  41-42 ;  his  talk 
with  Griffith,  191-92 ;  his  wander 
lust,  139;  joins  Gandhiji,  163 
on  fate  of  Muslims  in  India 
177-78 ;  on  how  he  was  perse 
cuted  by-  Pak.  Govt.,  178-79 
on  India  being  one  nation 
164 ;  on  lack  of  civil  liber 
ties  and  black  out  on  news 
in  Pakistan,  180;  on  Pakistan 
Govt.,  178-79 ;  on  Pathan  blood- 
feuds,  115;  on  religious  quarrels, 
36 ;  on  transborder  raids,  74 ;  on 
transformation  of  Pathans  due  to 


ahimsa,  139;  opposed  to  move 
of  new  elections,  70 ;  pleads  with 
father  for  national  education, 
34 ;  posts  armed  night  watches 
for  Gandhiji,  54;  puts  his 
daughter  under  Mirabehn,  39 ; 
released  from  jail  (1945),  162; 
resigns  from  Working  Commit¬ 
tee,  162;  says  Quranic  law  has 
no  place  in  Pak,  186  ;  sentenced 
to  3  years’  imprisonment,  187  ; 
sets  up  a  training  centre  at 
Sardaryab,  161 ;  settles  his 
future  programme  with  Gan¬ 
dhiji,  139 ;  starts  national 
schools,  32 ;  stays  with  Bajaj, 
40  ;  studies  Gita  in  jail,  35  ;  takes 
Gandhiji  to  Utmanzai,  52 ;  takes 
part  in  1946  elections,  162-63 ; 
throws  himself  into  Rowlatt  Act 
agitation,  33 ;  urges  liquidation 
of  Muslim  League,  179 ;  with 
Gandhiji  at  Wardha,  39,  40 
Bajaj,  Jamnalal,  40 
Bannu,  deputations  to  Gandhiji, 
93  ;  plain  described,  96-97  ;  raid, 
45,  92 

Bannuchis,  9 

Behram  Khan,  31,  34 ;  arrested  and 
released,  33 ;  his  character, 
32-33 

Bernays,  Robert,  42 
Bhargava,  Dr.  Gopichand,  141 
Bhittanis,  7,  8 

Bibhuti,  Gandhiji’s  visit  to,  118 
Black-and-Tan  regime  in  NWFP,  38 
Blood-feuds  among  Pathans,  114-15 
British,  how  to  drive  them  out,  99 
British  officers  in  NWFP,  interested 
in  spreading  misrule  and  anar¬ 
chy  in  the  province,  171 
British  policy  of  border  protection, 
9-10 

Buddhism  in  NWFP,  147-48 
Burns,  A.,  his  commercial  mission, 
20 

Burns,  Sir  William,  his  assassina¬ 
tion,  20 

Cabinet  delegation,  162 ;  its  state¬ 
ment  of  16th  May,  166-67 
Carlyle,  Thomas,  52 


INDEX 


Caroe,  Sir  Olaf,  Governor  of 
NWFP,  and  his  anti-Congress 
policy,  170 

Chandragupta  Maurya,  14 
Charkha,  how  Gandhiji  came  by  it, 
100  ;  the  golden  bridge  to  unite 
rich  and  poor,  100 
Charkha  Sangh,  charge  against  it, 
of  being  a  Hindu  organization, 
142-43 

Charsadda  incident,  of  non-violent 
fearless  behaviour  of  Pathans, 
140 ;  KK  officers’  assurance  to 
Gandhiji,  57 

Christianity,  78  ;  and  the  sword,  59 
Civil  Disobedience,  and  Satyagraha, 
85,  88-89 ;  end  of  non-violence, 
not  its  beginning,  126 ;  for  Swa¬ 
raj,  suspension  of,  85 ;  in  jail, 
88 ;  individual,  launched  upon, 
162;  right  to,  when  accrues,  126; 
should  be  charged  with  goodwill 
or  non-violence,  126 
Communal  riots  in  Hazara  Dist., 
165 

Congress  Ministries,  resignation  of, 
161 

Constructive  non-violence  pro¬ 
gramme,  133,  99 

Constructive  programme,  its  place 
in  scheme  of  non-violence  as  a 
dynamic  force,  99 
Constructive  work,  training  in, 
prescribed  for  KKs,  66 ;  two 
types  of,  97 

Conversion,  aim  of  jail  going,  70 
Cortez,  110 
Crancroft,  148 
Croesus  and  Solon,  136 
Cultivators  not  molested  by  fight¬ 
ing  armies  in  Ancient  India,  152 
Cunningham,  148 

Curzon,  Lord,  constitutes  NWFP, 
22 

Cyrus,  King  of  Persia,  14 

Daleep  Singh,  Maharaja,  18 

Dalhousie,  Lord,  20 

Dandamis,  and  Alexander,  157-58; 

his  discourse,  158-60 
Darius  1  14 

Davies,  Collin,  cited,  7,  8,  9,  10,  12, 
13,  23 ;  his  testimony  to  Pathans, 


211 

114;  on  Pathan  civil  warfare, 
115 

Delmerick,  148 

Dera  Ismail  Khan  106 ;  address  to 
Gandhiji,  107;  riots,  44 
Desai,  Bhulabhai,  cited,  26 
Desai,  Mahadev,  36 ;  on  Badshah 
Khan’s  parents,  32 
Diogenes,  158 

Disarmament,  power  of,  103 
Dost  Mohammad,  dethroned,  20  ;  his 
death,  21 

Durand  agreement,  25 
Durand  line,  4,  21-22,  25 
Dyer,  General,  28,  115 

Eden,  Sir  Anthony,  on  air  bombing 
for  police  purposes,  44 
Edwards,  Major,  subjugates  Bannu 
valley,  19 

Ellis,  Mollie,  8,  82,  112,  171 
Ellis,  Mrs.,  81 

Elphinstone,  Mount  Stuart,  and  his 
‘Kabul  Mission’,  20 
Emerson,  his  visit  to  Carlyle,  a- 
Evil-doers,  how  to  tackle,  77 

Fa  Hien,  149  ,  CQ 

Fearlessness  and  non-violence, .  -9 
Foreigners,  treated  with  considera¬ 
tion  in  Ancient  India,  151 
Foundation  Resolution  of  the  Con¬ 
gress  of  1920,  125 

Frontier  Govt.’s  charges  against 
Badshah  Khan,  188 
Frontier  Ministry,  meets  Gandhi]!, 

I17  ...  -u  4. 

Frontier  Policy,  of  the  British,  too 
costly,  93;  its  recurring  finan¬ 
cial  liabilities,  27 

Frontier  Province,  a  place  of  pil¬ 
grimage  for  Gandhiji,  123 

Gandamak,  Treaty  of,  4,  21,  24 
Gandhari,  14 

Gandhi-Irwin  Pact,  31;  sought  to 
be  broken  by  Government,  37-38 
Gandhiji,  31,  36,  160;  a  declared 
rebel  against  British  Empire,  28 , 
addresses  KKs  at  Ahmadi  Banda, 
116-17 ;  advises  Kulachi  people 
to  take  to  charkha,  108 ;  and 
Anglo-French  agreement  jW^h 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Hitler,  48;  and  Badshah  Khan 
confer,  71-78;  and  the  Munich 
crisis,  47-48;  asks  Tank  KKs  to 
be  true  hamsayas  of  local  Hin¬ 
dus,  108-09;  asserts  that  Islam 
was  neither  founded  nor  propa¬ 
gated  by  the  sword,  58-59 ;  at 
Dera  Ismail  Khan,  106-07 ;  breaks 
away  from  Congress,  162 ;  casti¬ 
gates  Frontier  Ministers  and 
Congress  M.  L.  A.s  for  not  wear¬ 
ing  Jchadi,  144 ;  cites  the  case  of 
Harijans  fasting  at  his  door,  61  ; 
cites  Mir  Alam’s  incident,  105 ; 
claims  to  have  been  a  constant 
and  ceaseless  striver  after  non¬ 
violence,  137;  clarifies  Badshah 
Khan’s  position  re  Pakistan  and 
Afghanistan,  173-74 ;  compares 
KK  with  common  soldier,  65 ; 
confesses  debt  to  his  wife,  89-90  ; 
criticizes  Abbottabad  address,’ 
137 ;  his  address  to  Kohat  pub¬ 
lic  meeting,  82-83,  to  KKs 
of  Paniala,  115;  advice  to  Ash¬ 
ram  girls  to  shed  fear  of 
Pathans,  84,  to  Czechs,  48-49 ; 
aim  in  living  at  Seva, gram,  76 ; 
apology  to  his  hosts  re  Ramzan 
fast,  111  ;  death,  175 ;  discourse 
on  non-violence  to  Abbottabad 
public,  137-38,  to  the  audience 
at  Lakki,  103,  to  Manshera  KKs, 
132 ;  faith  in  constructive  pro¬ 
gramme.  100-01  ;  impressions  of 
the  Frontier  tour,  122-27;  love 
for  his  mother,  32 ;  non-violent 
solution  of  trans-border  raids, 
93 ;  passionate  appeal  to  KKs 
at  Swabi,  69 ;  prophetic  words 
re  KKs,  193  ;  replv  to  'Manshera 
public  address,  131-32,  to  Pesha¬ 
war  Bar  Association’s  address, 
117,  to  South  Indian  officer’s 
poser,  118;  sharp  rebuke  to 
Dera  Ismail  Khan  public.  107; 
speech  at  Bannu,  93  ;  suggestion 
of  a  course  in  constructive  work 
for  KKs,  73,  to  send  some  KKs 
to  Wardha  for  training.  74 ;  talk 
to  Red  shirt  officers  on  non-vio¬ 
lent  resistance,  56,  with  Abbot 


tabad  minorities,  133,  with 
Badshah  Khan  on  transborder 
raids,  55,  with  Bannu  KKs,  87, 
with  Hungoo  KKs,  87,  with  Kohat 
KK  officers,  83-86,  with  Nasarat 
Khel  KKs,  87-91 ;  test  of  non¬ 
violence,  57,  58;  tour  of  Mar- 
dan  Dist.,  63  ;  view  re  going  to 
law,  61 ;  visit  to  Taxila,  138 ; 
warning  to  KKs  before  they 
take  to  non-violence,  123 ;  word- 
picture  of  Pathan  characteris¬ 
tics,  67-68 ;  yearning  to  be  one 
with  the  poor,  100;  how  he  came 
to  discover  the  charkha,  100 ; 
launches  satyagraha  movement, 
28 ;  lays  down  crucial  test  of 
KKs’  non-violence,  60 ;  meets 
Charsadda  KK  officers,  57 ; 
meets  Frontier  Ministry,  117; 
objects  to  armed  night  watches, 
54 ;  on  achievement  of  his  S. 
African  satyagraha,  56 ;  on  Bad¬ 
shah  Khan’s  faith  in  ahimsa, 
126 ;  on  Badshah  Khan’s  hospi¬ 
tality,  122-23 ;  on  banishing 
anger,  90-91  ;  on  the  calf  acci¬ 
dent  on  way  to  Bibhuti,  118-19; 
on  constructive  work  in  terms 
of  non-violence,  83 ;  on  fight 
from  behind  prison  bars,  88-89 ; 
on  his  harsh  treatment  of  his 
wife,  90 ;  on  his  losing  temper 
with  friends,  89  ;  on  kidnapping 
and  raids  by  transborder  tribes¬ 
men,  75,  93-96 ;  on  the  obser¬ 
vance  of  Ramzan,  90-91  ;  on 
punishment  of  Dyer,  115 ;  on 
purpose  of  visit  to  NWFP, 
50-51  ;  pensive  on  a  Pathan’s 
congratulations,  127 ;  prescribes 
not-violent  self-immolation  to 
save  a  girl  from  outrage,  109-10 ; 
prescribes  training  in  con¬ 
structive  work  to  KKs,  66 ;  pro¬ 
pounds  philosophy  of  courting 
imprisonment,  67-70 ;  receives 
address  from  Nowshera  KK 
officers,  65,  deputations  at 
Bannu,  93,  gifts  from  Munat 
Khan  Kili  people,  63,  Kohat  de¬ 
putations,  82,  sarapa  from  Sikh 


INDEX 


213 


shrine  at  Haripur,  119 ;  refers 
all  his  problems  to  God,  40-41 ; 
relates  his  good  relations  with 
Pathans  in  South  Africa,  67-68 ; 
reminded  of  his  mother’s  orna¬ 
ments  on  seeing  relics  in  Taxila 
museum,  150 ;  replies  poser  by 
KK  at  Panpiala,  116 ;  repudiates 
charge  against  Badshah  Khan  in 
connection  with  non-violence, 
57-58  ;  sees  Khattak  dance,  102  ; 
sets  out  for  NWFP,  47 ;  sets  out 
for  Noakhali,  163 ;  sounds  and 
cautions  KKs  at  Mardan,  67 ; 
takes  Badshah  Khan  to  Griffith, 
191  ;  urges  Bannu  KKs  to  adopt 
non-violence  of  the  strong,  98 ; 
urges  KKs  to  learn  some  craft 
as  an  independent  means  of 
livelihood,  Hindustani,  etc.,  60 ; 
urges  KKs  to  proceed  further  on 
the  path  of  non-violence,  137-38 ; 
visits  Bibhuti,  118,  again 
NWFP,  161,  the  scene  of  Bannu 
raid,  96,  Taxila,  147 ;  warns 
Tank  KKs  to  sign  pledge  after 
full  consideration,  109,  Lakki 
KKs  to  disarm  only  if  they  have 
faith  in  non-violence,  103 
Garhi  Habibullah,  bombing  inci¬ 
dent,  187,  188,  189 
Garhwalis,  refuse  to  fire  on  unre¬ 
sisting  Pathans,  30,  31 
Goodwill  or  love,  best  rendering  of 
ahimsa,  124 ;  should  be  second 
nature  with  us,  124 
Gopichand,  Dr.,  144 
Governor  of  NWFP,  168,  169 
Griffith,  Sir  Ralph,  191-92 
Grouping  according  to  Cabinet  De¬ 
legation,  167 

Habibur  Rahman,  his  murder,  24 
Haji  Saheb  of  Turangzai,  32 
Hall,  Fielding  King,  17,  147;  his 
description  of  a  Khattak  dance, 
103 ;  on  Pathan  inflammability, 
39 

Hall,  Stephen  King,  on  Pathan 
character,  114 

Haripur  Panja  Saheb  shrine  pre¬ 
sents  the  Gandhis  'with  sarapa, 
119 


Herbert,  Mr.,  18 
Hind  Swaraj,  100 
Hindu-Muslim  Unity,  99 
History  of  Satyagraha  in  ‘South 
Africa,  quoted,  105 
Hitler,  49,  68,  127;  and  the  Anglo- 
French  agreement  with  him,  48 
Hungoo  public  meeting  and  ad¬ 
dress,  87 

Implications  of  renouncing  vio¬ 
lence,  89 

Indian  Home  Rule,  on  lawyers,  117 
Ipi,  Fakir  of,  176 
Islam,  and  the  sword,  58-59 ;  is  un¬ 
adulterated  peace,  78 ;  its 
essence,  brotherhood,  177 ;  most 
tolerant  in  the  world,  165 ;  reli¬ 
gion  of  Peace,  139 

Jail  going,  conversion  aim  of,  70 
Jallianwala  Bagh  Congress  Com¬ 
mittee  re  demanding  punish¬ 
ment  of  Dyer,  115 
James,  Major,  cited,  18 
Jamiat-ul-Awam,  186 
Janamejaya’s  serpent  sacrifice,  148 
Jats,  the,  9 

Jaulian  Buddhist  monastery,  re¬ 
mains  of,  148-49 

Jesus  Christ  and  modern  Europe, 
59 

Jilani,  Abdul  Qadir,  story  cited,  116 
Jinnah,  not  a  representative  of  the 
Muslim  nation,  186 
Jirga  system,  9 

Kalanos,  152 

Kalinga  edict  of  Asoka,  15 
Kanishka,  his  empire,  16 
Kautilya,  14;  his  economy,  152-53 
Keene,  General,  20 
Keppel,  Sir  George  Roos,  See  Roos- 
Keppel 

Khadi  exhibition  at  Peshawar, 
141-46 

Khadi  movement  and  self-suffi¬ 
ciency,  142 

Khan  Brothers,  above  suspicion  of 
communal  bias,  135 ;  arrested 
during  Gandhi-Irwin  truce,  37- 
38 ;  not  opposed  to  grouping  as 


214 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


such,  167 ;  opposed  to  referen¬ 
dum  on  India  or  Pakistan  issue, 
172 ;  their  integrity,  190 ;  true 
servants  of  God,  191 
Khan  Saheb,  Dr.,  35,  41,  52,  66,  141 ; 
his  early  career,  31  ;  his  inter¬ 
view  with  Col.  Sandeman,  37-38 ; 
refutes  charge  against  Charkha 
Sangh,  143  ;  resigns  commission, 
34 

Khan  Saheb  Ministry,  direct  action 
launched  against,  168 ;  dismissed 
by  Qaid-e-Azam,  175 
Khattak  dance,  102 
Khattak,  Khushal,  9 
Khattaks,  the,  9 
Khilafat,  violation  of,  28 
Khudai  Khidmatgar  and  a  common* 
soldier,  65;  mark  of  a  real  KK, 
84-85 

Khudai  Khidmatgars,  8,  46,  47 ;  and 
local  volunteers  at  Dera  Ismail 
Khan,  107 ;  crucial  test  of  their 
non-violence,  68-69 ;  Govt,  re¬ 
pression  of,  38 ;  keeping  vigil  at 
Badshah  Khan’s  residence,  181 ; 
significance  of  the  terms,  125; 
subjected  to  reprisals,  192-93 ; 
their  pledge,  50;  urged  to  pro¬ 
ceed  further  on  the  path  of  non¬ 
violence,  138,  to  work  the  con¬ 
structive  self-purification  pro¬ 
gramme  of  Congress,  125 
Khudai  Khidmatgar  movement,  31, 
36-37 

Khyber,  caravan,  114;  pass,  80 
Kidnapping  by  trans-border  tribes¬ 
men,  94 

Kohat,  address  to  Gandhiji,  82 ;  de¬ 
putations  to  Gandhiji,  82 ;  dis¬ 
turbances,  29  ;  pass,  80-81 
Kulachi,  address  to  Gandhiji,  108 

Law  Courts,  fighting  in,  and  non¬ 
violence,  61-62 
Lawrence,  Sir  Henry,  18 
Lawrence,  Sir  John,  his  masterly 
inactivity,  20-21 
Life  in  Ancient  India,  151-52 
Lord  God  and  the  Serpent,  54 
Love  and  tolerance,  119 
Lytton,  Lord,  23 


McCrindle,  151 

McMunn,  on  air  bombing,  45 
McNaughten,  W.,  his  assassination, 
20 

Mad  Mullah,  his  jehad  against  Bri¬ 
tish,  24 

Maffey,  Sir  John,  34 
Mahabharata,  the,  148 
Mahmud  of  Ghazni,  16 
Mahsud  Expedition,  25 
Mahsuds,  the,  7,  8 
Majority  community  vis  a  vis 
minorities,  113,  135 
Manshera  Kisans’  address  to  Gan¬ 
dhiji,  130,  their  grievances,  130 
Manshera  Public  address  to  Gan¬ 
dhiji,  131 

Maqsudjan,  Mr.,  112 
Marshall,  Sir  John,  148 
Marwat,  Tahsil  of,  102 
Marwats,  the,  9 

Military  organizations  and  peace 
organizations,  104 
Minorities,  duty  of,  135 ;  vis  a  vis 
majority  community,  135 ;  in 
Pakistan,  their  faith  in  Badshah 
Khan,  81,  their  position  in 
NWFP,  133-35 
Mir  Alam,  105 

Mirabehn  (Miss  Slade),  16,  39,  161 
Modesty  of  innocent  girl  being 
threatened,  case  of,  109-10 
Mohmands,  the,  7 
Mohammad  Ghori,  16 
Mookerjee,  Dr.  Shyama  Prasad,  185 
Mountbatten,  Lord,  comes  to  India 
as  Viceroy,  168 

Munat  Khan  Kili,  inhabitants  of, 
present  gifts  to  Gandhiji,  63 
Munich  Pact,  47 
Mussolini,  68 

Nadirshah,  his  invasion,  17 
Napier’s  exploit  in  Sindh,  cited,  21 
Nasarat  Khel  address  to  Gandhiji, 
87 

Nayyar,  Sushila,  129 
Nehru,  Pt.  Jawaharlal,  63,  178,  185 ; 
his  car  ambushed  by  tribesmen, 
44,  his  visit  to  NWFP,  43 ;  not 
allowed  to  enter  NWFP,  41 
No-man’s  land,  4,  11 


INDEX 


215 


Non-co-operation  28 ;  and  NWFP,  29 
Non-Muslims  in  NWFP,  10 
Non-violence,  active  principle  of 
highest  order,  75 ;  and  anger, 
88 ;  and  fighting  in  law  courts, 
61-62 ;  and  respect  for  others’ 
rights,  120 ;  can  be  kindled  in 
the  heart  by  grace  of  God,  138 ; 
cannot  be  taught  by  word  of 
mouth,  138 ;  distinguishing  mark 
of  man  from  brute,  124 ;  does 
not  depend  on  another’s  suf¬ 
ferance,  193 ;  fearlessness  essen¬ 
tial  for,  89 ;  how  it  was  taken 
up  in  India,  97-98 ;  how  to  pro¬ 
tect  hamsayas  with,  116 ;  inade¬ 
quate  rendering  of  ahimsa,  124 ; 
infinitely  superior  to  brute 
force,  103 ;  is  like  radium  in  its 
action,  76 ;  is  its  own  seal  and 
sanction,  193 ;  its  acid  test,  77 ; 
its  two  varieties,  97 ;  mightiest 
force  God  has  endowed  man 
with,  124 ;  no  guru  necessary 
for,  89 ;  not  mere  disarmament, 
138 ;  not  mere  passive  quality, 
124 ;  taken  up  by  Indians,  was 
of  the  weak,  98 ;  transcends 
space  and  time,  76 ;  way  of  ‘  unto 
this  last  ’,  100 ;  whole  meaning 
of,  beyond  man’s  grasp,  137 

Non-violence  movement,  great  boon 
to  Pathans,  72-73 

Non-violent  non-co-operation,  77 ; 

and  constructive  programme,  79 
Non-violent,  soldier,  should  enter¬ 
tain  love  for  all,  105 ;  strength, 
practical  hints  for  its  cultiva¬ 
tion,  86 ;  warfare,  laws  of,  99 
North-West  frontier  of  India,  11 
North-West  Frontier  Province,  and 
Non-co-operation,  29 ;  casualty 
between  Cabinet  Mission’s  good 
intentions  and  British  officials’ 
intrigues,  169  ;  diarchy  in,  42-43  ; 
excluded  from  Mohtford  Re¬ 
forms,  22 ;  its  fluctuating  boun¬ 
daries,  3  ;  its  inhabitants,  7  ;  its 
military  and  political  impor¬ 
tance,  11-12 ;  its  mineral  and 
potential  resources  and  wealth, 

5 ;  its  natural  beauty  and 
wealth,  3 ;  its  natural  features, 


5-6;  its  political  divisions  before 
Partition,  6;  its  present  bounda¬ 
ries,  4 ;  its  role  in  Indian 
history,  11 ;  land  of  contrasts, 
3-10 ;  made  a  Governor’s  pro¬ 
vince,  23  ;  rich  in  associations  of 
India’s  long  history,  13 
NWFP  Government’s  communique 
re  Badshah  Khan  vis  a  vis 
Pakistan,  187 

Nowshera  KK  officers’  address  to 
Gandhiji,  65 

Numbers,  mere  accession  of,  weak¬ 
ening,  132 

Obhrai,  Dewan  Chand,  12,  22 
O’Dwyer,  Sir  Michael,  27 
Onesikritos,  157,  158 
Orakzais,  the,  7,  8 
Organization  of  violence  and  that 
of  non-violence,  104 

Palchtoon,  the,  179 
Pakhtoonistan,  see  Pathanistan 
Pakistan  and  India  compared,  185, 
186 

Pakistan,  authorities  charged  with 
demoralizing  Pathans,  176 ;  lea¬ 
ders  all  refugees,  186,  People’s 
Party,  184 ;  v.  Free  Pathanistan, 
173 

Paniala  KKs  addressed  by  Gan¬ 
dhiji,  115-16 
Panini,  14 

Paramananda,  Rao  Bahadur,  128 
Parashurama,  founder  of  Pesha¬ 
war,  14 

Patel,  Sardar,  185 
Patel,  V.  J.,  his  report  on  Peshawar 
firing,  30 

Pathan,  has  no  racial  significance, 
7,  113 ;  his  strong  antipathy  to 
being  dominated,  172 ;  misrepre¬ 
sented  by  political  and  military 
departments,  12-13 ;  mortal  fear 
of,  common  in  India,  84 ;  revolt, 
1897,  23 ;  rising,  17 

Pathan  character,  vilification  of,  by 
English  writers,  114 
Pathan  Code  of  Honour,  114 
Pathans,  carrying  away  sentries 
with  rifles,  114 ;  civil  war 
among,  114;  their  characteris¬ 
tics,  113 ;  vs.  Punjabi  nawabs, 
172;  violence  their  bane,  71 


216 


A  PILGRIMAGE  FOR  PEACE 


Paurava  (Porus),  king,  155 
Peace  organization  and  military  or¬ 
ganization,  104 

Pennel,  Dr.,  the  evangelist,  45 
Peshawar  Bar  Association’s  address 
to  Gandhiji,  117 
Peshawar  firing  in  1930,  30 
Philip,  Macedonian  Governor  of 
NWFP,  14 
Poona  offer,  162 
Porus  (Paurava),  14,  55 
Poser  by  a  KK  at  Paniala,  116 
Prince  of  Wales’s  visit  and  Bom¬ 
bay  riots,  75 

Pukhtu,  language  of  Pathans,  8,  9, 
113 

Pukhtunwali,  114 
Punctuality,  74 
Pushtu,  see  Pukhtu 
Pythagoras,  158 

Qaid-e-Azam,  dismisses  Dr.  Khan 
Ministry,  175 ;  his  announce¬ 
ment  re  negotiations  with  Bad- 
shah  Khan,  183-84 
Quit  India  struggle,  162 

Raids,  transborder,  26 
Rajendraprasad,  Babu,  134,  178 
Ramzan,  month,  and  Gandhiji’s 
tour,  79 

Ranjit  Singh,  creator  of  NWFP,  18 
Raverty,  on  present-day  Pathans, 
152 ' 

Referendum  in  _NWFP,  boycotted 
by  Khan  Brothers  and  KKs, 
174 ;  climate  on  the  eve  of,  174 
Religious  toleration,  in  Asoka’s 
edicts,  154 

Roads,  construction  programme  in 
NWFP,  24-26 ;  metalled,  53 
Roberts,  General,  20 
Roos-Keppel,  Major,  25 
Roos-Keppel,  Sir  George,  his  policy 
to  placate  Pathans,  34 
Rowlatt  Act,  28  ;  agitation  against, 
33 

Sabuktagin,  16 
Sambhas,  King,  156 
Sandeman,  Col.,  37-38 
Sandeman,  Sir  Robert,  44 
Sandeman  System,  44,  45 
Sannyasis,  questioned  by  Alexan¬ 
der,  156-57 

Satyagraha,  and  Civil  Disobedience, 
85,  88-89 

Satyagrahi,  should  regard  ‘  enemy  ’ 
as  potential  friend,  121 
Savanarola,  157 

Sect.  93  regime  in  NWFP,  162 
Servant  of  God,  known  by  service 
to  His  creatures,  125 
Service  of  God,  possible  through 
service  of  His  creatures,  85-86 


Settled  Districts,  22,  23,  25 
Sevagram,  76 
Shah  Jahan,  17 

Shah  Nawaz  Khan,  Haji,  kills  him¬ 
self  to  expiate  his  disgrace, 
38-39 

Sher  Ali,  21 
Shujah,  Shah,  20 
Sikhs  and  kirpan,  58 
Sikh  rule  on  the  Frontier,  17,  18 
Sirkap,  one  of  the  sites  of  Taksha- 
shila,  149-50 

Slade,  Miss,  see  Mirabehn 

Slavery,  banned  in  Ancient  Indian 
law,  151 

Smuts,  General,  56,  77 
Socrates,  158 

South  Indian  officer’s  poser,  117-18 
Strabo,  150 

Swabi  Tahsil,  Gandhiji  at,  69 ; 

KKs’  assurance  to  Gandhiji,  70 
Swadeshi,  defined,  144 

Takshashila  finds,  148,  150 
Tank  Hindus’  lament  before  Gan¬ 
dhiji,  108 
Taxila,  128 
Taylor,  Reynal,  18 
Telemachus,  157 
Thornburn  on  Bannu,  cited,  96 
Timur’s  mvasion,  16-17 
Training  necessary  for  a  servant  of 
God  as  for  a  soldier  of  violence, 
125 

Transborder  raids,  55,  66,  74,  93 ; 

and  kidnappings,  97 
Truth  and  Non-violence  go  to¬ 
gether,  90 

‘  Unto  this  last  ’,  the  way  of  non¬ 
violence,  100 

Usury,  unknown  in  Ancient  India, 
151 

Utmanzai,  its  lack  of  .drainage  and 
sanitation,  54 ;  its  natural  sce¬ 
nery,  53 

Violence,  bane  of  the  Pathans,  71 ; 
eradication  of,  from  the  heart, 
59 

Wali  Khan,  Badshah  Khan’s  son, 
112 

War,  outbreak  of,  161 
Wardha  Scheme  of  Education,  74 
Wavell,  Lord,  retires,  168 
Waziris,  1,  8 
Wigram,  Rev.,  32 
Wilson,  Mr.,  on  air  bombing,  44 
Working  Committee  Meeting  at 
Delhi  under  the  shadow  of  war, 
47-48 

Xerxes,  14 
Yusufzais,  7 


BOOKS  BY  GANDHIJI 


i 


NON-VIOLENCE  IN  PEACE  AND  WAR 
Vols.  I  — II 


These  two  volumes  together  form  a  complete  collec¬ 
tion  of  Gandhi ji’s  all  important  writings  and  utterances  on 
non-violence. 


Vol.  I  contains  the  writings  and  utterances  upto  the 
9th  of  August,  1942,  on  non-violence  in  relation  to  war  and 
internal  disorder  and  non-violent  resistance  as  applicable 
to  situations,  such  as  faced  the  Tews  and  the  Czechs,  the 
Chinese  and  the  Negroes,  victims  of  ruthless  oppression 
and  wanton  aggression. 

Vol.  II  covers  the  period  of  the  last  two  years  of 
Gandhiji’s  life,  a  period  during  which  he  undertook  to 
‘  do  or  die  ’  in  Noakhali,  Bihar,  Calcutta  and  Delhi  and  his 
practice  of  non-violence  culminated  in  his  supreme  sacri¬ 
fice. 


Vol.  I,  Second  Edition,  Reprint 

Pages  xii,  512 

Vol.  II,  (just  published) 

Pages  xvi,  403 


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FOR  PACIFISTS 

A  collection  of  important  articles  on  Pacifism  and 
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Meeting  at  Calcutta. 

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UNDER  PREPARATION 

A  continuation  of  the  story  of  the  quest  for  the  non¬ 
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in  Noakhali  and  Bihar,  by  the  author  of  A  Pilgrimage  for 
Peace.